STATEMENT FROM THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS AND MANAGEMENT OF LA FAMILIA MEDICAL CENTER ON THE DEATH OF GEORGE FLOYD

La Familia Medical Center stands in condemning the murder of George Floyd at the hands of police, the many acts of police violence against peaceful protesters, and the egregious history of police brutality against and mistreatment of the black community over the previous years and decades.

Community Health Centers originated with the Civil Rights Movement and were a direct response to inequality in health care. When La Familia was founded in the early 1970s, our vision was a new model of health care, accessible to all, addressing health disparities and social determinants of health that are the product of discrimination and injustice in our society.

In our daily work at LFMC, providing care to our community, we see the health effects of racism and the trauma experienced disproportionately by people of color (BIPOC). Police brutality has a direct effect on the health of BIPOC with repercussions for the whole community. Research shows that pregnant black women who live near the sites of police killings of unarmed blacks have infants with significantly lower birth weights. The stress of enduring racism results in higher rates of hypertension, diabetes and other chronic diseases among BIPOC and higher rates of death from almost all causes. We see the direct effects of racism and inequality on health in the devastation caused by the Coronavirus pandemic in New Mexico. Although Native Americans make up only 11% of our population, they comprise almost 60% of all the COVID cases and half of the deaths.

We all must act to call out systemic racism and racist beliefs wherever we find them. At La Familia, we will recommit ourselves to diversity, equity and inclusion within our organization. We will continue to make La Familia a safe space for all. Our core values are to treat everyone with the same high level of respect, dignity and compassion, including BIPOC and those who are poor, homeless, non-English speaking, followers of any religion or no religion, LGBTQ, undocumented immigrants, using drugs, disabled, or struggling with mental illness or chronic disease. We pledge to advocate actively against racism in our own organization and in our community and country.

We call on our city, county, and state to enact policies to eliminate racial discrimination in law enforcement and our criminal justice system and also call on our political leaders to prioritize funding for health care, social services and education programs that address racial disparities.

Community Health Centers were created for and by the communities they serve. We pledge to be a catalyst for real change and work in solidarity with all Santa Feans for a future where the color of your skin does not determine your ability to be healthy and safe.

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Declaración de la junta directiva y administración de La Familia Medical Center con relación ala muerte de George Floyd

      La Familia Medical Center (LFMC) condena el asesinato de George Floyd de manos de la policía, los múltiples actos de violencia en contra de manifestantes pacíficos y la indignante historia de brutalidad policial y maltrato en contra de la comunidad negra en los años y décadas anteriores.

Los Centros de salud comunitarios (Community Health Centers) se originaron con el Movimiento de Derechos Civiles y fueron una respuesta directa a la desigualdad en atención médica.  Cuando se fundó La Familia a principios de los años de 1970, nuestra visión fue un nuevo modelo de atención médica, asequible a todos, para tratar las disparidades de salud y los determinantes sociales de salud que son producto de la discriminación e injusticia en nuestra sociedad.

En nuestro trabajo diario en LFMC de brindar atención médica a nuestra comunidad, vemos los efectos del racismo en la salud y el trauma que de manera desproporcionada experimenta la gente de color (BIPOC, por sus siglas en inglés).  La brutalidad policial tiene un efecto directo en la salud de las personas de color, con repercusiones para la comunidad en general.  Las investigaciones muestran que las mujeres negras embarazadas que viven cerca de lugares donde la policía ha asesinado a personas negras desarmadas tienen hijos que pesan significativamente menos al nacer. La tensión de soportar el racismo resulta en altos niveles de hipertensión, diabetes y otras enfermedades crónicas entre BIPOC e índices mayores de mortalidad por casi todas las causas.  Vemos los efectos directos del racismo y la desigualdad en la salud en la devastación que ha causado la pandemia del virus Corona en Nuevo México.  A pesar de que los nativo americanos son únicamente el 11% de nuestra población, constituyen casi el 60% de todos los casos de COVID y la mitad de las muertes.

Todos debemos alzar nuestras voces en contra del racismo sistémico y las creencias racistas dondequiera que las encontremos.  En La Familia nos comprometemos nuevamente a la diversidad, igualdad e inclusión dentro de nuestra organización.  Seguiremos manteniendo nuestras clínicas como espacios seguros para todos.  Nuestros valores principales son tratar a todos con el mismo alto nivel de respeto, dignidad y compasión, incluyendo BIPOC y aquellos que son pobres, que carecen de vivienda, que no hablan inglés, de cualquier religión, o ninguna religión, LGBTQ, inmigrantes indocumentados, usuarios de drogas, discapacitados o que luchan con enfermedades crónicas o mentales. Nos comprometemos a abogar activamente en contra del racismo en nuestra propia organización y en nuestra comunidad y en nuestro país.

Hacemos un llamado a los funcionarios de nuestra ciudad, condado y estado para que promulguen políticas que eliminen la discriminación racial en el sistema del orden público y el de justicia penal y también hacemos un llamado a nuestros líderes políticos para que le den prioridad al financiamiento de programas de atención médica, servicios sociales y educación que aborden las disparidades raciales.

Los Centros de salud comunitarios se crearon para y por las comunidades que sirven.  Nos comprometemos a ser catalizadores de un verdadero cambio y trabajar en solidaridad con todos los santafesinos por un futuro donde el color de la piel no determine la capacidad de estar sano y seguro.

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Statement from

Tom Van Coverden, President & CEO and Lathran J. Woodard, Board Chair of the National Association of Community Health Centerson the Death of George Floyd

     Community Health Centers stand with all Americans condemning the horrific killing of George Floyd in Minnesota. We are distressed, angry and afraid – especially for the men and women of color in the nation who face harm and discrimination simply by going about their daily lives. Because a 17 year-old girl bravely recorded this brutal murder at the hands of the police – no one – not even the most callous or indifferent – can now ignore what has been neglected and shunned aside in America for far too long. Mr. Floyd’s death, and the scores of those who have suffered similar fates, sadly are a part of a historical legacy of injustice and racism that pervades and is ingrained in our society.

Born out of the civil rights and social justice movement of the 1960s, the nation’s Community Health Centers serve to this day as advocates for quality care and health equity for all. As community-based health care providers to 30 million people in over 14,000 medically underserved communities across America, we are first-hand witnesses to the direct effect of violence, stress, physical and mental abuse on the health and well-being of our patients – people on the receiving end of racism and discrimination because of the color of their skin, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, income level or insurance status.

We as a nation must do more if we are to believe and hold true to the principles of our democracy. And we must do it together. We must usher in real change to protect and improve the lives of all people – from our local policing practices to our judicial and legal systems, to our educational institutions, to our health care systems. Most importantly, we must move forward public policies at local, state and national levels that reflect the true needs and priorities of a country in crisis. Community Health Centers were created for and by the communities they serve. We are ready to work for real change. We are the catalyst for real change in this country; if not us, then who?