If you are a black person living in the United States, you probably know that racism is real. According to the Times Union Albany County Health Commissioner Elizabeth Whalen apparently agrees with us.

On Tuesday Commissioner Whalen attended a press conference and stated that not only is racism real, but she also called it a public health threat. Commissioner Whalen spoke about the killing of George Floyd last week. She called it a despicable act that has angered the entire country. She spoke about the underlying systemic racism that occurs across this country.

Commissioner Whalen went on to read a statement from the president of the American Public Health Association, George Benjamin, “racism is a long-standing systemic structure in this country and must be dismantled through brutally honest conversations, policy changes, and practices. Racism attacks people's physical and mental health.“ Commissioner Whalen went on to speak about racism being a public health crisis and how it needs to be addressed now. She spoke about discrimination in housing, education, the criminal justice system as well as employment.

Although we appreciate acknowledgment by the commissioner, this is not anything new for black and brown people, we live it every day. COVID-19 has shown us how people of color have so many underlying health issues, and other determining factors, that we are dying at an alarming rate. This is a stressful time for our country, with black and brown people suffering exponentially. Whenever something happens throughout the nation, it seems that people of color bear the brunt of it. There is an old saying in the African-American community that states, “when white folks catch a cold, black folks catch pneumonia“.

It’s good to know that the healthcare community is aware of the dangers of racism. I ask my black people to do your part, take care of yourselves, your families, and your communities!

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