When you hear the word “health,” what comes to mind? A doctor’s appointment? Your body? Your mind? COVID19? Most would probably answer “yes” to these. But what about the health of our nation? Our generation of people, from birth through the oldest living member, is bearing witness to some of the most troubling times our country has ever faced – and all within the span of about one year.
Yes, there is a surging pandemic ebbing and flowing and consistently threatening to shut down our country again (physical and economic health) and there is civil unrest over the killing of unarmed black men and women (racial health). Most recently, the United States entered a war of the people that has politically divided the nation and threatens to strip us of that which we are most proud: freedom. The people of this great country are afraid. We watched with horror as an angry mob breached the United States Capitol – a sacred and beloved symbol of all that our country stands for. But we won’t be silenced.
In watching the footage and analyzing the events of January 6, 2021, with commentators on all national news outlets, one thing became clear. We weren’t prepared. And as the day went on, we began to see a recurring comparison of the Black Lives Matters protests of the summer and the recent Save America events. What was discovered, while disappointing, was not surprising. National Guard members surrounded the Capitol building to protect government officials from BLM protestors. Last Wednesday, a severely under-protected building was overtaken by rioters who wished to overturn the results of the election.
How does this affect the health of our nation, both in terms of our foundation and our physical well-being? By now, you’ve likely heard of systemic racism. Race Forward says racism shows up across countless institutions and society, including wealth gap, employment, housing discrimination, government surveillance, incarceration, drug arrests, immigration arrests, infant mortality and more. (Check out their extensive website here: https://www.raceforward.org). We know that black men and women are incarcerated at higher rates and we also know that a past conviction makes it incredibly difficult to obtain employment. Without employment, there is no health insurance and without health insurance, African-American men and women suffer in silence and die at alarmingly higher rates (just look at the statistics associated with the COVID-19 pandemic). There were countless arrests made on site at BLM protests. The news has reported that arrests were made last week, too, but the majority were for individuals who violated the mayor’s 6 p.m. curfew.
There are incredible divides in our country right now – more than ever in our lifetimes. They are political, they are economic, they are riddled with mistrust and insecurity, and they ALL affect the health and wellness of this great nation. At LEAP, LLC, we’ll continue to fight to raise awareness and offer solutions to today’s most pressing healthcare needs and we are committed to fighting for equal rights and equal access for all — one nation, UNITED.