Resources for Providers

Dear Friends,

Strange and difficult times.

In the middle of a deadly pandemic, we see demonstrations in all fifty states and around the world responding to repeated horrifying reminders that our great nation isn’t a level playing field.  That some of us enjoy advantages based on no more than the amount of pigment our skin produces.  And sadly, the incidents that have driven the outrage catch our attention because of the undeniable testimony of on-site video.  Things haven’t gotten worse, they’ve just gotten more visible.

The response to “Black Lives Matter,” is frequently “All Lives Matter.”   On its face, this seems to be fair and inclusive.  The problem is, though, that all lives can’t matter unless each life matters.  And if skin color is an independent risk factor for lifelong educational and economic inequality, for imprisonment, for institutional disenfranchisement, and for mistreatment and death at the hands of the very groups that are charged with our protection and safety we have to stand up and take notice.

During the current COVID-19 outbreak it would be an utter failure not to treat the most sick and the most at-risk with particular vigor and imagination.  All lives matter, yes, but the elderly, the infirm, and the at-risk need unique, immediate measures.

It’s harder to see a condition that has existed for centuries as a similar emergency – but for each affected individual it is.  Each person in this country is living his or her only life.  As pediatricians we do all we can to make each life the best life it can be.  Each life matters.  We have to make a difference.

What can we do?

We can each get better educated about the nature and scope of the problem of racism.  We’re attaching several resources at the end of this article about what you can do – for yourself, for your families, for your patients.

We can speak up – contact your representatives to Congress and the Legislature.  At least as importantly contact your local officials both elected and appointed.  Use the persuasive power of your experience with families and children.

We can stand together with the disenfranchised.  Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness aren’t optional, they’re meant to be the foundation of our system

Racism is a public health emergency with far-reaching consequences.  We have to make a difference. We have to do it now.  Each life needs your encouragement.  Black lives matter.