Black Lives Matter
APLA Health is committed to continue to fight discrimination in all its forms. During these challenging times, we recognize that it is no longer enough to be quietly non-racist, now is the time to be vocally anti-racist. We stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and the protests organized across the country and around the world in response to the videotaped murder of George Floyd, the shooting of Breonna Taylor, the execution of Ahmaud Arbery and the killing of Tony McDade. We will continue to fight for an end to the racist system that has taken the lives of countless Black and Brown women and men.
As you may have heard, on Sunday, June 14th a march is being held in Los Angeles. This march was initially advertised by LA Pride as a ‘solidarity march’ in conjunction with Black Lives Matter. Since the announcement of the march, LA Pride has admitted that it had, in fact, not adequately engaged Black Lives Matter in the planning of the event and subsequently pulled out of the march. An advisory group formed and the march was re-branded as an All Black Lives Matter march.
We feel the manner in which the original ‘solidarity march’ was conceptualized continues to perpetuate the racism and persistent injustices that Black Lives Matter was founded to combat and that the Black LGBTQ+ community experiences on a daily basis. Additionally, we feel the membership of the All Black Lives Matter advisory group does not represent the diversity or the diverse voices of the Black and Black LGBTQ+ communities.
APLA Health, as an organization, will not participate in the Sunday, June 14th march in Los Angeles. We stand firm in our commitment to move from quietly non-racist to vocally anti-racist, which, in this case, means not supporting an event that we feel is counter to the principles on which we stand. Although we have made the conscious decision not to participate in the march as an organization, individuals should still participate if they are so inclined.
We will continue to look at ways to support the Black Lives Matter movement and our commitment to becoming a vocally anti-racist organization.
Madria Marshall, MA
Terry Smith, MPA
Steven Vitero, DDS
Vallerie Wagner, MS
APLA Health Leadership
APLA Health stands in solidarity with people across the country and the world protesting the horrific racial violence that has brought our nation to a point of civic crisis unparalleled since the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968.
The events that precipitated this crisis are well known: the callous murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, the shooting of Breonna Taylor by Louisville police as she slept in her bed, the violent murder of Ahmaud Arbery by white supremacists while he was jogging in Georgia, and the police killing of Tony McDade, a black trans man in Tallahassee.
These are just the latest instances of the unending violence and officially sanctioned terror visited on black people – and other racial and ethnic minorities – in this country since its founding.
Two years before he was assassinated Dr. King famously said, “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health is the most shocking and inhumane.” After centuries of institutional racism, health outcomes among African Americans are exactly that: shocking, inhumane and dramatically worse than among whites.
APLA Health knows something about injustice in health: nearly 100,000 individuals died of AIDS in the 1980s – many of them black gay men and transgender women – before the federal government took notice. African Americans continue to be disproportionately impacted by HIV – blacks make up about 12 percent of the U.S. population, but account for nearly half the number of people living with or diagnosed with HIV each year.
The current COVID-19 epidemic again reveals the health injustice of discrimination and institutional racism. Black people have died from the disease at almost three times the rate of their white counterparts.
This week APLA Health joined over 500 LGBTQ organizations to make explicit commitments to embrace anti-racism and end white supremacy, not as necessary corollaries to our mission, but as central to it: central to ending HIV, central to ending COVID-19, central to achieving health equity for LGBTQ people, and central to ending the persistent injustice that communities of color experience across the country.
APLA Health stands in solidarity with #BlackLivesMatter, and that stand requires action to bring about change. We call on elected officials to listen to those marching in the streets and to implement policies that amend the past, eradicate institutional racism, and ensure that police brutality and racial violence are brought to a conclusive end.
APLA Health recognizes that the moment for action is now. Our efforts to reduce health disparities across all the communities we serve are on-going, as are our efforts to help create a country and a world where injustice – including injustice in health – no longer separates us one from another.