Letter: Union can help improve health care, fight inequality

Graphic by Lori Deaton

An RN working in hospitals and home care for over 40 years, I noticed racism. Diagnosis of it as a public health emergency offers direction to its resolution. Unequal health care and having health care tethered to employment is a violence less obvious than police violence. As we demonstrate for transformation of police departments, the removal of statues and other symbols of racism, remember that unequal health care delivery to BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) is real, with lifelong and generational effects. I am so happy the Mission nurses now have a union to help them fight for the patient care issues that can be addressed with adequate staffing and equipment.

The current COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the deep inequalities in our health system. The nation’s billionaires, all white, saw their combined net worth surge by $434 billion between March 18 and May 19 as ordinary Americans, particularly BIPOC, experience the economic toll of the pandemic. Black Americans are more than twice as likely (and in some states, seven times as likely) to die from the virus than whites. Physicians for National Health Program reports, “Among today’s 40-year-olds, whites will live nearly six years longer than Blacks. … Black mothers are twice as likely as white mothers to lack prenatal care and 320% more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications. Black babies are more than twice as likely to die than white babies.”

Connected with National Nurses United, which has been supporting health care for all from the beginning, they will be able to bring this consciousness to our area. Health care from womb to tomb will begin to address the emergency and violence of racism that is perpetrated upon Black and brown bodies and will help everyone else, too. Candidates who support this are not only patriotic but protect our national security. Thank you, Mission nurses!

— Padma Dyvine
Bat Cave


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