Racism is a Public Health Issue

Foundation Statement | June 10, 2020

Our world has shifted in many ways over the past few months as we have dealt with the impacts of the COVID-19 virus in our area—and we continue to live in a time of uncertainty and with anxiety—until there is a vaccine.

We have experienced new feelings of vulnerability, a sense of loss, and challenges as our work, households and social lives have shifted in some dramatic ways as a result of this public health pandemic. We have seen acts of kindness, of community and of bravery that have uplifted us. We have been amazed at the ways our nonprofit, business, and civic partners have stretched and shifted to meet emerging community needs in new ways.

But our country has also endured great tragedies recently which remind us that racism continues to be a public health issue in our country. Racism has persisted for hundreds of years, resulting in health inequities (e.g., higher rates of infant mortality and COVID deaths), systemic barriers and trauma. Unlike other public health issues, racial equity can’t be solved with a vaccine. We mourn the loss and honor the memories of those who have died unjustly at the hands of law enforcement and stand with our Black community members and the many People of Color who live and work in our region and are confronted with the hurt and reality of these tragedies time and time again.

The Jefferson Regional Foundation and Jefferson Community Collaborative are invested in the health and vitality of the Jefferson region and its community members – and this vision includes a crucial and strong appreciation for the diversity of our local organizations and leaders.  It is difficult to imagine a healthy future for our region while racial and ethnic inequities continue to be prevalent.

Our Foundation and Collaborative are committed to working harder to fight racism and make our region more inclusive in many ways  –  to further educating ourselves, to listening, to being an active voice in addressing the links between health equity and racial justice, and to providing a network and region where everyone in our communities and organizations is respected and heard. We welcome your voice, your guidance and your partnership in these efforts.

We are sharing several anti-racism resources below in the hope that our Jefferson Community Collaborative organizations and representatives will join us in better understanding how we can all play an important role in creating a healthier, safer, and more inclusive region.

Racial Justice Resources

For Organizations

For Individuals

For Parents & Their Children