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Racism is a serious threat to the public’s health

Racism is a public health crisis and a serious threat to our collective health, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and more than 210 cities, counties, and states across the nation which have formally declared racism a public health crisis -- a list that includes the city of Boston.

The declaration is an important recognition of the deep harm that racism has on communities of color and an early step toward ending the injustices.

As a public health issue, racism and racial injustice has broad impact on the social determinants of health — conditions such as one’s employment, housing, education, and economic status — in communities of colors in ways that directly result in more frequent negative health outcomes.

It’s a threat that needs to be addressed collectively and one that the YWCA of Southeastern Mass. is working to end in its newest program being held this week.

Stand Against Racism—From Declarations to Change: Addressing Racism as a Public Health Crisis is a free webinar that will be held virtually from noon to 1 p.m. Thursday.

In the webinar, a four-person panel will explore how racism impacts communities of color and why the public health perspective is so important to helping to address the problem.

Panelists include:

  • Damōn O. Chaplin, Director, City of New Bedford, Department of Public Health;

  • Jennifer E. DeBarros, PhD, Director of Prevention & Intervention Programs, HEAL Center, NorthStar Learning Centers, Inc.;

  • Lucia Soraya DosSantos, Maternal Health Advocate, Postpartum Care Facilitator & Mother/Birth Keeper; and,

  • Sharon Jones, President and CEO, Visiting Nurse Association, Southcoast Health.

The YWCA has been a steady source of information, conversation, and community building around ending racism. Their motivations are clearest in this line from their emailed announcement about the program: “Our collective efforts can root out injustice, transform institutions, and create a world that sees women, girls, and people of color the way we do: Equal. Powerful. Unstoppable.”

Take a stand with them and join the webinar by registering here.

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