As a young black man growing up in Georgia, I experienced racism. Therefore, I can appreciate the “Black Lives Matter” movement. The Black Lives Matter movement has helped eliminate racial disparities through various interventions. However, from a medical standpoint “All Lives Matter”. In this article, I will review two public health crisis: Covid-19 and racial injustice and how the Black Lives Matter movement strives to improve injustice and unify people.
The Black Lives Matter movement began in 2013 following the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.
The movement promotes peaceful demonstrations for civil rights and advocates against police violence to African Americans. The Movement has grown through the years with many chapters in the US and abroad. Micheal Brown, Eric Garner, Ahmad Arbery, Brionna Taylor are African- Americans who died from police violence. Currently, police violence of unarmed people of color deaths have sparked the protests of millions around the U.S. and the world.
However, the recent death of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer initiated the Black Lives Matter call to action.
George Floyd’s brutal death has caused state and local governments to initiate a change of unfair laws that have been around for centuries. People have united to say Black Lives Matter and to stop police violence that disproportionately continues to affect people of color. Open discussions on race relations in America and the world have emerged. Old laws and policies that have promoted racism, are being reviewed and changed at the highest levels of government.
Police departments around the country are examining how they serve and protect their communities (i.e. racial profiling, mass incarceration compared to other races).
Monuments, statues, paintings, and murals, of persons that have offended racial or ethnic groups have been removed from the public or are being assessed as to their relevancy in 2020. The Black Lives Matter movement has resonated across all spectrums with changes taking place in the military, corporate boards, corporate policies, sports, entertainment, etc. In fact, many sports teams now encourage their players to kneel during the national anthem to show support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Those actions signify renewed attention to longstanding racial inequities in many aspects of American life.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, people of color have also faced more systemic problems that have negatively impacted economics, health, and safety. According to the CDC, there are more than 112,000 people in the US that have died from the Covid-19 heath crisis. During the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic, the United States federal government assigned local and state government leaders to handle the management of the disease in their states. However, there was a shortage of testing in many cities. Hence, Black and Latino people died at high rates from underlying conditions due to coronavirus complications.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, access to social services was also difficult to navigate (unemployment benefits, food, and rent). African- Americans have encountered a lack of access to quality healthcare (mistreatment in U.S. hospitals, clinics, and physician offices). In some cities the Black Lives Matter groups have assisted African-Americans and other minorities with testing for Covid-19, along with working to end systemic barriers and obstacles based on race. Possible Solutions to promote social justice and civil rights:
Finally, the Black Lives Matter movement and other interventions are necessary to help ensure equal protection under the law due to disparities in education, economics, healthcare and the criminal justice system. The Black Lives Matter movement and many other people continue to seek change, equality, and equity for people of color, but the playing field must be leveled. All lives should continue to work together with the Black Lives Matter movement to start the process of eliminating racial inequality and racial violence.