TSOPHE Stands in Solidarity Against Racism, Discrimination and Injustice
As an organization that represents a diverse membership of health education professionals and students across Texas, it is imperative to address the events that have unfolded across the nation in the past week. The Texas Society for Public Health Education promotes healthy behaviors, healthy communities, and healthy environments through research, practice and advocacy efforts. We share in the pain, frustration and anger felt by the unjust murder of George Floyd, and those before him such as Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor.
As a diverse executive board and as public health professionals, we understand the effects that systemic racism has in relation to health disparities and human rights of marginalized and racial/ethnic minority groups. Racism is a public health issue. Advocacy and work that pertains to equity in underserved communities is largely embedded with systematic oppression and racism. This work must be done so that healthy communities and healthy environments can become a reality for Black communities. TSOPHE hears the voices of Black Americans and will do whatever possible to continue this important conversation. We are privileged to stand and support the Black community. If you are a Public Health professional, please see the ways (provided by SOPHE) in which you can hold yourself and colleagues accountable below:
Practice Anti-Racism: Fight against not just discrimination, but also the policies and practices that perpetuate and foster racism in today’s criminal justice, housing, food, media, or other societal contexts. When you see an injustice, ask yourself, “How is racism at play here? How would you view the situation or treatment of someone of your own race or ethnicity?
Own your privilege and be an ally: If you have privilege, use it to protect and help others. Own what you have access to while understanding everyone doesn’t share that privilege. Ask yourself, “What do I have access to that will help this situation? How can I advocate for better conditions for those most vulnerable?”
Act against racial microaggressions: Common slights, insults, putdowns, invalidations, and other offensive behaviors toward people of color need to be called out. Racially demeaning slights in social media, entertainment media, mascots, and other symbols also should be denounced. These acts perpetuate a hostile and invalidating societal climate that ultimately harms employment, education, health care, and overall civil society.
Practice cultural humility: Strive to be respectful, considerate, open-minded, and interested in learning more about other peoples and their cultures and values. Leave your assumptions and prejudices at the door. You will learn insights, open doors and build bridges that you never thought possible.