Our experience with COVID-19 in Hamilton again reveals the impact of social determinants of health – people who have become ill with COVID are disproportionately poorer, have lower paying jobs, and live in congregate settings. We have just begun to track the data regarding race and COVID infection. Early results show that racialized communities in Hamilton experience COVID infection and illness at disproportionate rates.
The recent death of George Floyd in the US has brought new light to a topic that people from Canada’s Indigenous communities are also only too familiar with. Race and racism is a strong predictor for poor health outcomes, including death from violence, delayed health care, and restricted access to the building blocks of health – safe employment, healthy food, secure housing, education and confident movement through the world without fear of race based stereotyping, neglect or violence.
We have also heard loudly, especially from people who are Black and Indigenous, that for many of us, our formal and informal education about human history is incomplete. The predominant narrative about how our history and current society was experienced and is now structured has been largely told with the voices of men who were largely white and from a European heritage. These accounts have been silent or partial on stories of slavery, cultural genocide, residential schools, the interests which shape judicial and penal systems, land and water use, and violence against women (especially Indigenous women and girls). These are just a few themes from a long list.
The request from Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) colleagues, neighbors, citizens is that people with privilege and power take them seriously. To pay attention to the lived experience of generations of racist actions and social structures. And to work towards a world where exclusion or aggression based on race is not tolerated at either an individual or an institutional level.
This is not easy work. In the service of beginning to educate ourselves and address what, for many, is a gap in our understanding, we offer a few resources. Please send us others you have found helpful. Although all of us had to overcome challenges to get to where we are today, as physicians and health care providers we also occupy a place of privilege and informal leadership within our community. We all have a part of play in advocating for justice and equity to ensure all citizens get the care they deserve, and no one is left behind. Understanding the sustained health impacts of the pandemic of racism is work we are called to do at this singular time in our collective history.
Welcome to Black Canada: A Resource
White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack
What’s My Complicity? Talking White Fragility With Robin DiAngelo
Adrienne van der Valk and Anya Malley
From the Ashes – My Story of Being Metis, Homeless and Finding My Way (Book)
Document compiled by Sarah Sophie Flicker, Alyssa Klein in May 2020
21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge
Defund the police? Here’s what that really means.
Christy E. Lopez
A Brief History of Slavery that you Didn’t Learn in School.
Curated by Mary Elliott, All text by Mary Elliott and Jazmine Hughes
New York Times Magazine
BCCDC COVID-19 Language Guide
BC Centre for Disease Control
How to Help First Nations Communities in Canada
True North Aid
First Nations Child and Family Caring Society
Kelly Watt, Penny Abbott and Jenny Reth
BMC Family Practice
HNHB LHIN Indigenous Health Network
Indigenous Health Working Group, CFPC
Michele K. Evans, Lisa Rosenbaum, Debra Malina, Stephen Morrissey and Eric J. Rubin
New England Journal of Medicine
Max J. Romano
Annels of Family Medicine 16(3):261-263
COVID Racial Data Tracker