Children’s HealthWatch Statement on the January 6th Capitol Hill Attack
The deeply disturbing January 6th domestic terrorist attack on the nation’s Capitol defies moral and legal principles and threatens the health of our democracy, and we condemn it in the strongest possible terms. As we grapple with COVID-19’s decimation of lives across the country–especially in Black, indigenous, people of color, immigrant, and low-income communities–the terrorist attack serves as yet another stark reminder of our refusal to honestly and genuinely discuss and reckon with the persistence of white privilege, racism, and intentional racial disenfranchisement in this country. There are still two Americas, two sets of legal standards, and two different economic realities.
As we grapple with this reality, we must acknowledge that our work of improving the health and well-being of all children and families in the United States depends on a healthy, vibrant democracy. We are, therefore, committed to denouncing all actions that promote white supremacy and threaten democracy, because the prosperity and health of our nation’s children and families relies on our youngest generation inheriting a functional democratic society that can achieve a better, more equitable future compared to the past.
While our highest hopes remain unrealized for so many children and families, this moment in our nation’s history offers us an opportunity to reflect and decide how we will move forward in a meaningful, action-oriented way. The violence that engulfed our Capitol last week has tragically reminded us that unfortunately these ideals we hold dear are neither promised nor given, but must be constantly re-imagined, actively embraced, and nourished.
To do that, we must do the following:
- First and foremost, acknowledge that white privilege and racism exist and persist, and that they are at the root of the racial inequities and disparities we see in our research on health, housing, wealth, education, and poverty – full stop. White America must take responsibility for their white privilege and racism and confront their complicity in the continued harm done to BIPOC and immigrants.
- Address and rectify the historical and current investment in white supremacy through truth and reconciliation, and policies and practices that promote justice and equity.
- Stop ignoring or downplaying the experiences of discrimination BIPOC and immigrants encounter regularly. Listen to, and more importantly, believe them, and respond to their realities.
Words are not enough. They never have been. It is time for white America to finally fulfill its original 245 year old promise of equality and equity for all, and to uphold and never again question, dispute or diminish the inherent, undeniable humanity of Black people, indigenous people, people of color and immigrants.
The work continues, and we will make change happen.