Racism is a powerful force that plagues our nation. Sickle cell advocates learn how to weave through it, and despite the odds, many survive in the very environments that often neglect them. The systemic racism that plagues our nation affects every inch of our beings. Our health should not be a victim of racism — whether it’s intentional or not.
In this time of great reflection and global awareness about how racism lurks in every corner of our country, it is also a time to reflect on how racism impacts all systems, including healthcare. To these ends, we still hear the powerful words of Martin Luther King Jr., “of all forms of discrimination and inequalities, injustice in health is the most shocking and inhumane.” In 2020, we continue to face such injustices and inequalities in healthcare.
We’re calling on healthcare professionals to stand alongside us to denounce racism. Providers need to address their own implicit biases, listen to the patients, take pain crises seriously, hold colleagues and employers accountable, fight for access to new therapies, demand better SCD education for clinical communities, and center and amplify the voices of people of with SCD – not their own, and not just for a day, a week, or a hashtag. These are the voices that will create change.