Racism is a Health Equity Issue Pledge

Racism is a Health Equity Issue Pledge

June 23, 2020
Petition to
All Concerned Citizens
Signatures: 110Next Goal: 200
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Why this petition matters

The text of this pledge was updated on 01/09/2023.

The impacts of racism continue as a pervasive form of preferential bias in the United States and many other countries around the world. Preferential bias compounds implicit bias exacerbating barriers to living a full life for Black, Indigenous, and people of other colors or ethnicities in the United States and globally. In addition to intended stereotypes, also known as explicit bias, many of the inequities seen in society are perpetuated by implicit bias and the history, policies, and structures of many institutions. Racism is ever evolving in its nature and how it is understood. 

Institutional racism persists as a significant issue being faced by the nation’s ethnic and minority groups. Police brutality and murder against Black people, the increase of hate crimes against Asian American and Pacific Islander individuals, and the ongoing limited access to resources and land within indigenous communities due to unfair historical seizure all serve as very real challenges made in the face of racism. Globally, racial discrimination continues to affect decision-making processes, policies, and global health outcomes, as highlighted by the United Nations and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination they established decades ago (1). 

It is important to recognize the nuance of these situations concerning racial justice and how they connect to increasingly jeopardize health equity. “Racism influences many social determinants of health, such as access to employment and adequate housing, stress levels, and educational attainment, among others. It limits social, economic, and health-related opportunities and creates many forms of disadvantage that persist across generations. Racism is too often the root cause of many of the health and social inequities we observe both in the United States and globally” (2). The limited access to quality education, housing, and other resources designs scenarios that generate inequitable outcomes. Unfortunately, these scenarios are cyclical in nature and produce generational inequities that lead to a seemingly endless cycle of injustice.

There are countless examples of health inequities among our nation’s Black and Brown communities. One example, maternal mortality among Black women is much higher than among other racial and ethnic groups (3). Another example, many Black and Latinx families live in food deserts, defined as locations with extremely limited access to healthy food (4). Among many other factors, a lack of investment in BIPOC communities, limited cultural humility, and a history of inadequate or unfair policies, make it impossible for many people from Black and Brown communities to prosper and live the healthy lives they deserve. Racism is a health equity issue! 

It is crucial to recognize that racism is a key health equity issue. It is our duty as individuals, leaders, and professionals to champion health and racial equity in our communities and organizations. It is also time to listen to communities and their leaders, and ultimately to those most affected by health inequities and bias. 

By signing this pledge, you commit to raise awareness within your own community and/or organization about racism and its many negative consequences on the lives and well-being of people. You also commit to jump start and champion a process that would help others in your organization and/or community to recognize and address racism and other forms of bias, and mitigate its impact on decision-making processes, policies, and all kinds of investments in local communities. 




1) UN General Assembly Resolution 2106. (1965, December 21). International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. OHCHR. Retrieved from https://www.ohchr.org/en/instruments-mechanisms/instruments/international-convention-elimination-all-forms-racial 

2) Schiavo, R., Oledibe, N, Faroul, L. and Health Equity Initiative. (2018). Engaging New Allies in the Health Equity Movement: Highlights and Recommendations from the 2018 Summit Innovation Think Tanks. New York, NY: Health Equity Initiative. June 2018.  Available at: https://www.healthequityinitiative.org/reports.html

3) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019). Racial and Ethnic Disparities Continue in Pregnancy-Related Deaths. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2019/p0905-racial-ethnic-disparities-pregnancy-deaths.html

4) Brooks, K. (2014, March 10). Research shows food deserts more abundant in minority neighborhoods. Retrieved from https://hub.jhu.edu/magazine/2014/spring/racial-food-deserts/

Health Equity Initiative (HEI) is a member-driven nonprofit membership organization dedicated to build a global community that engages across sectors and disciplines to advance health equity. Learn more about us at https://www.healthequityinitiative.org/about.html

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Signatures: 110Next Goal: 200
Support now