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Wellness Requires Racial Justice

(Photo by: Omer Messinger)(Sipa via AP Images)

A statement from the staff and Board of The California Wellness Foundation

We are witnessing an uprising. The murder of George Floyd, a Black man, by a White police officer in Minneapolis has sparked grief, outrage and protests. As a foundation committed to protecting people’s health, we know that wellness requires racial justice. And yet being Black in America today is enough to get you killed. Racism is real, it’s systemic, and it’s being documented on cellphone video.

For too long, Black people in America have suffered persistent injuries to body, mind and spirit. In response, people in California and across the nation are filling the streets to demand an end to police brutality, violence toward Black people and centuries of vicious racism. We stand with those advocating for peace and justice.

Since our founding, Cal Wellness has funded efforts to end the devastating impact of violence and trauma in communities. As we watch the news today, we’re outraged to see heavily militarized police attacking protesters and journalists. Violence is even more traumatic when perpetrated by the people sworn to protect us. We’re proud to see communities coming out to say loud and clear to government and police, “You must be accountable to us. It’s not the people, it’s the systems of racism and oppression that need to be stopped.”

And it is not lost on us that the backdrop of this uprising is the catastrophic coronavirus pandemic. People are risking their lives to protest racial injustice, in more ways than one. It’s shameful that our nation can mobilize financial resources and equipment for militarized police response to community protests but lacks the same resolve to fight COVID-19. We see police fully equipped with armor and military-grade equipment, but health care workers and hospitals still do not have personal protective equipment, ventilators, swabs and tests to care for sick and dying people. We cannot pretend one crisis does not affect and connect to another.

Cal Wellness will continue to stand side by side with our grantee partners and allies – particularly in these times of crisis – to take steps to dismantle structural racism, create a just economic system, and redesign a health care system that serves all fairly. Wellness requires racial justice to ensure the health of all Californians.

To learn more about organizations that are advocating against oppression and to join us in raising your voice for justice, check out the following organizations:

The Alliance for BMOC (PolicyLink)
Brotherhood Crusade
Coleman Advocates
Community Coalition
Communities United for Restorative Justice
Dignity and Power Now
Ella Baker Center for Human Rights
Fathers and Families of San Joaquin
Justice Teams Network
PICO California/Faith in Action
Silicon Valley De-Bug
Youth Justice Coalition
Young Women’s Freedom Center

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