Despite past tragic events, similar to ones happening today, society has more or less maintained the “status quo”– until now. Individuals and communities are coming together to stand up for the critical changes needed for a racially just society. One way healthcare workers have showed up for the patients they care for was by forming Pediatricians Against Racism and Trauma (PART) last year. PART is comprised of over 60 pediatrician leaders from across the country, including VIP Co-Founders Dr. Alan Mendelsohn and Dr. Benard Dreyer, who call for policy changes and action. As stated in the article, structural racism lays the foundation for many injustices to be built upon. Some of those injustices include: bias in the delivery of care to Black children and families, bias in medical schools and healthcare, mass incarceration of youth of color and the parents of children of color, discrimination against Black, Native American, and Latinx families in housing, education, and employment, microaggressions suffered by individuals of color during daily life, criminalization and detention of immigrant families at the border, and denial of benefits. These overwhelming injustices lead to a life of chronic fear and emotional trauma in children, youth, and families which is why change is so crucial. As the American Medical Association stated, “police brutality is a health issue.” Therefore, healthcare workers are in a vital position to play a part in leading the way toward change.
Not only do the authors of this article state where many issues lie, they also provide evidence-based policies for achieving successful changes. Those six policy recommendations are:
- bring “broken windows” policing to an end, which would remove the abundance of police cracking down on minor infractions in low income communities
- establish civilian oversight of policing which would hold officers accountable for doing their job, which is to “protect and serve”
- monitor local police “use of force” policies and end the militarization of the police department; demand investigations in instances of cases like George Floyd while empowering or even mandating officers to report actions of their fellow officers without fear of retaliation
- invest in recruiting diverse and community-based officers with rigorous training in appropriate safe interactions with the communities they serve
- prioritize government spending on community health, mental health, education, and housing rather than the police department