The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and others have lit a powder keg in the U.S. and abroad, leading to nearly two weeks of protests and demonstrations that highlight the pervasive and long-standing issues of racism, racial inequality and police brutality.
As public pressure mounts on those in positions to create change, a number of technology and health organizations have released statements pledging to support racial justice and equality both within and outside their operations.
Within big tech, for instance, Apple replaced its front page with a lengthy post from CEO Tim Cook stressing that the company “must do more” to bring its technology to the underserved and promote internal diversity. Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai recently shared word of millions of dollars in donations to organizations addressing racial inequities, of an eight minute, 46 second moment of silence and of internal discussions targeting long-term change. Amazon posted a PDF statement on Twitter in the early part of the week stating that the company stands “in solidarity with the Black community … in the fight against systemic racism and injustice,” while Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg announced $10 million in donations, and acknowledged “more work to do to keep people safe and ensure our systems don’t amplify bias.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, these statements have come up short for several editorial writers, countless social media commenters, and industry members. Many of these critics highlighted each tech platform’s ongoing role in exacerbating these issues, while others were concerned that those statements might be the start and end of an organization’s response.
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“For folks to put out public statements against racism is great, but there has to be additional steps within the organization to ensure the company’s values against racism align with diversity and inclusion,” Kistein Monkhouse, founder and CEO of chronic-patient-empowerment platform Patient Orator, who has spoken out about moving beyond public statements to create change, told MobiHealthNews. “That has to be intentional.”
A slew of major healthcare organizations, such as Cedars-Sinai Health System and Brigham Health, have also released statements in support of the protests for racial equality. However, these have generally elicited less pushback from the public. Major professional organizations such as the American Medical Association have also weighed in with a public statement and targeted video discussions of structural racism’s impact on health and care provision.
“Physicians on the front line see both the short-term and long-term effects on health of racism and trauma, so we really thought … we really needed to amplify these issues and name these issues so we could really move forward on action,” Dr. Patrice Harris, president of the American Medical Association, said about the organization’s decision to post a statement, during a broadcast interview. “We really have to make sure we are identifying the structural legacy of racism, and also the continued bias – implicit bias and overt bias – that is impacting our health today.”
Source: MobiHealth News