We Have the Power to Change


We Have the Power to Change

June 3, 2020
An image of protesters with signs that read, "Black Lives Matter."

Racism. Injustice. Inequality. These dreadful words have ignited events over the past week and have highlighted the defining point that we are facing as a nation. We are saddened, hurt, outraged, frustrated, dejected, and angry. We mourn for countless people of color who have lost their lives to injustices inflicted by those with power; power that is often not in the hands of Black and brown people. And unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident. We wait with bated breath as we wonder not if, but when, these incidents will repeat themselves.

We condemn in the strongest terms, the racism and injustice that was and still is on full display as a nation watched in horror these past few days. At Power to Decide, we acknowledge that it will take more than talking and proselytizing to bring about effective change. We must be committed partners and join arms with those who seek to develop very concrete actions to address structural racism, violence, health inequities, and the economic and educational impacts associated with them. Coupled with a national pandemic that is disproportionately affecting people of color, recent tragedies illustrate the need to see structural racism as a public health crisis.

Yet there are small glimmers of hope. Citizens in the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, and other places of all races and ethnicities are standing with communities here in the United States to condemn injustice. However, we cannot take our eyes off the ultimate goal, which is denouncing structural racism; a construct that as we know has dire consequences, especially within the public health space. Educating others about the impacts of structural racism is important, but education will need to urgently give way to policies and programs, both at the federal, state, and local levels that get at the heart of how all people, especially in communities of color, can realize their dreams and have the power to decide their own futures.

This moment now calls for action. We must be clear with our words and actions about what we stand for, how we show up, and how we partner with mission aligned organizations. We cannot rest because to rest is to avert our eyes and fall back into an abyss of complacency that will be even harder to evade. We all have the power to be that change.