I feel rage and grief, and I assume all of you do too. - Health & Medicine Policy Research Group

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I feel rage and grief, and I assume all of you do too.

June 2, 2020
I feel rage and grief, and I assume all of you do too.

As Rev. Otis Moss said at the City’s press conference, we are living with two simultaneous viruses, the COVID-19 virus and the 1619 virus. For one of these, we are putting our best scientific minds to work to find a cure; our first responders and essential workers put their lives at risk every day to make it better for the rest of us to be protected and to heal.

The contrast is stark in comparison to how we avoid addressing the 1619 virus of racism that is engulfing our society. In this case, we have the public, blatant, cruel racism and murder like we saw last week in Minneapolis against George Floyd, and we have the everyday, sometimes subtle, sometimes not, acts of racism like calling the police on a Black man who is birdwatching and has the audacity to ask someone to put her dog on a leash as required by law.

We see the impact of structural racist policy and practice on the health of Black and Brown people who are being destroyed by the other virus, COVID-19, at extraordinarily disproportionate rates. And we see these same communities being destroyed by unemployment, poor housing, food deserts, mass incarceration, police brutality, unequal access to quality education and healthcare, and so much more.

No wonder we feel rage and grief.

Our challenge is how to channel our rage and make the world we want to see — where we eradicate structural racism and systems of oppression that suffocate the endless potential of communities of color.

Let us try to imagine what that world would look like, where everyone is valued and embraced and supported. We call upon our local and state leaders to take on this challenge and lead us in creating the policy and systems we need to make this vision a reality.

At Health & Medicine, we are committed to imagining that world and doing what we can to create it, and we are honored to link arms with you in that journey.

In solidarity,

Margie Schaps, Executive Director

As we continue our own work toward racial justice, we’ve begun to build a list of other local organizations whose work we admire and hope that you’ll take time to learn more about: Assata’s DaughtersBlack Lives Matter ChicagoBrave Space AllianceThe Chicago Community Bond FundThe Chicago Freedom School, Incarcerated Workers Organizing CommitteeJustice for George Floyd Petition, #LetUsBreatheCollective, My Block My Hood My City, BYP100, Chicago Torture Justice Center, Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation, Equity and Transformation (EAT), and National Layers Guild Chicago.