Jun 12, 2020

Racism and Injustice Have No Place in Our Country

Since the videotaped killing of George Floyd, the issue of systemic racism has come to the fore: among neighbors, in America’s workplaces and homes, and most visibly in the streets of cities large and small. His brutal killing was yet another reminder of the racism and injustice that many Americans have lived with for all too long.

Racism and injustice have no place in our country today.

We want to reiterate that the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action—an initiative of AARP Foundation, AARP, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation—is committed more strongly than ever to equity and fairness. Our pathway to equity is to help build better health through nursing. Our goal is that “all people, regardless of race, religion, creed, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, or any aspect of their identity, will experience equity in well-being, health, and healthcare through a more diverse nursing workforce.”

The Center to Champion Nursing in America, which coordinates the Campaign for Action and is an initiative of those same organizations, shares these values and goals.

African Americans and Blacks are among the populations disproportionately affected by COVID-19. On top of that, America’s long history of racial violence has flared again, bringing to painful light the injustices that African Americans and Blacks live with daily.

The Campaign for Action was founded more than a decade ago on the conviction that nurses are central to America’s good health. That conviction and our efforts rest on an even bigger belief: the recognition that all people deserve to live their healthiest life possible; and that all should be able to forge their paths in life unhindered by unjust practices and beliefs. Our work is grounded in our expanding efforts to address the social determinants of health.

Events have driven equity to the forefront of conversations about social determinants of health and their impact on health. We hope—as a Campaign and as a nation—to create constructive change and growth.

What we all see happening in our communities and country right now ultimately demands of us new resolve. Together and as individuals, we need to raise our voices when we see wrongs that need righting, and take action in causes that can lead to great changes needed. But our ability to contribute to greater health equity also demands that we who are in positions of leadership and of power need to do more listening and learning to help build a better nation.

Let us hear from you.

Susan B. Hassmiller, PhD, RN, FAAN
Senior Adviser for Nursing, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation;
Director, Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action
Susan C. Reinhard, PhD, RN, FAAN
Senior Vice President and Director, AARP Public Policy Institute;
Chief Strategist, Center to Champion Nursing in America