In recents months, we’ve faced tremendous challenges as a country and world. The COVID-19 pandemic, which has hit Black, Latino, Indigenious, and vulnerable populations hardest, highlights the longstanding inequities within this country. These inequities are all too common contributing factors to the disproportionate impacts and exposures of environmental pollution in communities across the nation. In recent weeks, the uprisings over police brutality and violence in Black communities and the killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and many more, further underscore the effect of racism on health.
It is time for fundamental change.
Racial and economic justice is core to the work that we do as environmental health nurses. ANHE stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter Movement. It is now more important than ever that nurses add their voices to the call for action. To advance racial and economic justice, ANHE advocates for systemic change to the structures and policies that have enabled racism and environmental health inequities to persist.
It is essential to create a diverse, equitable, inclusive, and just movement of organizations, governments, health care systems, public health agencies, advocacy organizations, industry, and communities working towards the shared vision of healthier environments for all – especially Black, Indigenous, and people of color. In this, we recognize that environmental justice and community leaders are leading in this work and have expert knowledge of environmental impacts and solutions needed.
As an organization, we have taken time to pause and determine how to move with intention to ensure that our equity and justice values are reflected both internally and externally.
We invite ANHE members to join us in this process of ongoing reflection, dialogue, listening, and learning. Here are ways to get involved:
- Join the upcoming Policy/Advocacy Work Group call on July 2nd at 3 pm ET in which we continue the dialogue around addressing systemic racism. Nse Witherspoon, the Executive Director of the Children’s Environmental Health Network will be joining us on the call. You can join the call via this link: https://www.uberconference.com/anhe
- ANHE Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee: This committee seeks to increase representation of nurses of color organizationally and within leadership, to support diversity in environmental health nursing, and to encourage nursing environmental health engagement in our most vulnerable communities with a focus on low-income communities and communities of color. The committee is laying down the foundations for this work and we will be recruiting members in the future. Please stay tuned!
To learn more about ANHE’s commitment you can view the full statement on justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion here.