Today, President Biden will sign the federal legislation commemorating Juneteenth as a national holiday. Washington State also passed legislation in 2021 recognizing Juneteenth as a state holiday. Black Americans have been celebrating the day for a century and a half.
Rep. Melanie Morgan (D-Parkland) sponsored the Washington bill. “This says we belong as Black African Americans. That we are humans, and I believe it’s another step towards declaring Washington state as an anti-racist state, which leads to reconciliation, healing, and true inclusion,” she told The Seattle Times.
And, in the midst of a pandemic that has disproportionately impacted Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) in the United States, anti-racist work must include health equity for BIPOC Americans. Equitable care does not vary in quality because of personal characteristics, such as gender identity, race, ethnicity, preferred language, geographic location or socioeconomic status.
WSHA has compiled health equity resources to support Washington and Oregon hospitals in uncovering health disparities within their organizations, training staff to better understand root causes of inequalities in health care, partnering with communities to address social needs and more. Hospitals committed to taking action to dismantle inequities in health care delivery are invited to participate in the 2021-2022 WSHA Health Equity Collaborative, which is available at no cost and will focus on establishing leadership and a culture of equity, data collection and analytics, and addressing social determinants of health.
The Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle also created the guide, Black Health Matters: COVID-19 Vaccines & The Black Community. This great resource speaks directly to Black community members about historic medical trauma, vaccine hesitancy, FAQs and more. We encourage Washington health care providers to review the guide and share it with your networks.