Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program stands in solidarity with black and brown communities in denouncing the racism that, throughout history and into the present moment, has devalued their lives and led to the horrific killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and too many others.
As a program dedicated to providing compassionate healing to the most vulnerable, and centering on the dignity of human life, we speak out against this grave injustice. We acknowledge that this black man casually being suffocated under the knee of a white police officer was a literal manifestation of the stifling pressure of centuries of structurally racist policies, disproportionately borne by black and brown people. These structures of inequity were not only made visible in this violent moment, or in the senseless deaths of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, but are also revealed in the disproportionately higher rates of COVID-19 disease and death in communities of color.
“I cannot breathe” were the painful last words not only of George Floyd, but also Eric Garner, another black man who died in a police choke hold. The profound consequences of unaddressed systemic inequities have been revealed, as we are forced to pay attention to the fact that those whom we depend on for food, shelter, good health and comfort are routinely forced to do without those basic resources themselves.
In the same ways in which we harnessed our collective efforts and resources to respond to the coronavirus pandemic—to protect each other and bring the highest quality care to our patients—we refuse to ignore the urgency of this moment.
We will stand in support of our community partners against broader systemic racism. As a program, we will move to look not only outward, but also inward at the ways in which we can more actively promote racial justice to ensure that each and every black and brown life matters.
Thank you for your shared commitment in this work,
Barry Bock, CEO and Sonja Spears, Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer