June 05, 2020
KC CARE’s Statement of Anti-Racism
KC CARE Health Center is working to care for our patients, community, and families during the COVID-19 pandemic, which is causing rapid change to our work. As if this wasn’t difficult enough, unemployment is up, safety behaviors such as wearing a mask are being politicized, and now we are watching an all too familiar scenario of protests mounting over the killings of Black and Brown Americans. This pandemic provides sobering evidence that COVID-19 is another health issue that is disproportionately impacting the Black and Brown people we serve at KC CARE. Crises often shed light on our worst history and societal ills.
The racially motivated killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, James Scurlock, David McAtee, Nina Pop, Tony McDade, and countless other Black and Brown people challenge all of us to examine who we are (individually and as an organization), to face the unequal history of our nation, and much more. In particular, we cannot look away from the unjust behavior of police. It affects our ability to trust and love our neighbors because it casts a shadow of fear and reminds us that the root causes of such events are in our midst as well. Having lived in St. Louis, Missouri, in 2014, I’m aware of the division this can sow. Although it’s challenging, leaning in and confronting racism head on can also lead to community transformation.
It is important that KC CARE acknowledge the pain caused by the unnecessary killings of people of color and the ensuing protests surrounding their deaths. As Angela Davis said: “In a racist society it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist.” We want our employees, patients, and community to hear us clearly denounce racism and white supremacy with a resounding voice of solidarity.
Actively addressing inequity, especially connected to race, is a core reason for Community Health Centers such as KC CARE to exist. Healthcare services are our primary tool to that end.
We pledge to intentionally create a culture of safety and trust around race, both with staff and our patients. We are always adapting and growing, moving this forward in new ways. In the last year, we revamped our mandatory employee orientation curriculum to ensure training includes LGBTQ-affirming behavior, trauma-informed care, and the following core principles of cultural humility:
- Client or patient as expert (on their life and experiences)
- Lifelong learning and critical self-reflection
- Recognizing and changing power imbalances
- Institutional accountability
But we need to do more. Racism is a public health issue, and we will not be silent. We will not be perfect, but we commit to listening, learning, and being held accountable for how we confront racism. We know that education, law enforcement practices, access to transportation, and housing already contribute to health disparities in our community. By providing trusted, quality, and affordable healthcare, we seek to address these social determinants of health.
Today we grieve for the people and families who have experienced far too much loss due to injustice. We will actively seek to further this dialogue in our community and invite you to email Chief Marketing & Development Officer Doug Day (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have suggestions for how we can leverage our position as healthcare providers.
On behalf of all of KC CARE’s staff, thank you for allowing us to serve you.
President & CEO