Healthcare Workers For Justice
June 6th, 2020
Jenny Durkan, Mayor of Seattle
Dow Constantine, King County Executive
Jay Inslee, Governor of Washington State
City and King County Council Members
Black individuals in the United States have endured events in our everyday life without an audience or validation of our experiences. Now, these incidents have become displayed vividly across our cellphones, computer screens, and televisions. The experiences that have historically been dismissed by the White community as overreactions have now been documented and we have the receipts. To be Black in this country is to be a second-class citizen. No matter the education, income level, or location, our skin color dictates our experience. And we cannot take it anymore. The loss of life at the hands of police presents a public health emergency that requires decisive and concrete action.
We march today for David McAtee, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Atatiana Jefferson, Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, Ahmaud Arbery, Oscar Grant, Philando Castile, Michael Brown, Mario Woods, Walter Scott and so many more who never made a headline and whose stories are deemed unworthy because they are presumed guilty and deserving of death at the hands of state-sanctioned violence. (See more about the stories who don’t make national headlines at
We support and share the views outlined by the American Public Health Association Policy statement from 2018, Addressing Law Enforcement Violence as a Public Health Issue Policy (
We in the healthcare community and the signatories to this letter stand in solidarity with a community that has been brutalized for far too long. Statements are great, action is better. We offer the following as concrete demand, that have been supported by every Dean within the UW Health Sciences:
1. Immediately declare Racism and Police Violence as a public health emergency.
2. Immediately end the violence against protestors. We stand in solidarity with them.
3. Eliminate legislative provisions that shield law enforcement officers from investigation and accountability.
4. Provide full public disclosure of all investigations of law enforcement officer brutality and excessive use of force as well as access to recordings of any incidents in question, which should be deemed public property. These materials could be made public through an online database.
5. Reverse the militarization of law enforcement, by eliminating acquisition and use of military equipment and reducing the number of SWAT teams and the frequency of their deployment.
6. Fund studies that explore the effectiveness of interventions that may decrease reliance on law enforcement, including decriminalization, increased investment in social determinants of health, and community-based alternatives that promote public safety, such as violence intervention and restorative justice.
7. Fund programs that meet human needs, promote healthy and strong communities, and reduce structural inequities (economic, racial, and social) — such as employment initiatives, educational opportunities, and affordable housing—including by using resources currently devoted to law enforcement.
8. Advance equity and justice by eliminating officer enforcement of regulations designed to oppress marginalized people, including but not limited to substance use and possession, sex work, loitering, sleeping in public, and minor traffic violations as well as targeting undocumented immigrants.
9. Engage in a review of law enforcement agencies’ formal and informal policies and practices in order to eliminate disproportionate violence against specific populations. Examples of such policies and practices may include racial and identity profiling, stop and frisk, gang injunctions, and enforcement of laws that criminalize houselessness.
We in medicine have committed to do our part to address our inherent racism that affects the well-being of every person to access healthcare and be treated with compassionate and equitable care. We cannot work in silos and cannot sit silent on the sidelines. To remain silent is to be complicit in the war on Black bodies and those of marginalized communities that is being waged from all fronts, for which there is no reprieve.
To achieve the demands outlined, we call for an action oriented meeting with those elected officials listed above within 2 weeks to address the demands that have been presented. These demands are congruent with what has been continually outlined by the community. This meeting must include community organizers and organizations that we are in partnership with, who have been actively working to address these inherent issues in our community and state. We will only accept action oriented steps and no longer accept ongoing rhetoric and placating speeches. We will lay a new foundation for the City and County to set a standard for the nation.
Estell Williams, MD
Edwin G. Lindo, JD
Name & Suffix (ex, Estell Williams MD)
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