Letter From the Editor: How Racism Affects Californians

Oct 18, 2019 Berkeley / CA / USA - 'Black lives matter' slogan posted on the Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse billboard in downtown Berkeley
A billboard in downtown Berkeley displayed a Black Lives Matter sign in October 2019. Photo by Andrei Stanescu.

The pandemic and protests have laid bare the depths of our nation’s disparities. Your race should not determine whether you live or die. It should not influence whether your doctor listens to you, or whether you can breathe clean air. 

But—too often—it does. 

Here at the California Health Report, we’ve spent the last decade reporting on these disparities, in the hopes that we can find a path to equality. I’ve highlighted some of our past coverage below, as a primer on how racism affects Californians

Doctors often fail to listen to black mothers, leading to higher rates of maternal and infant mortality. People of color face discrimination at doctor’s offices, as well as higher exposures to air pollution. And low-income people of color are over-represented in the criminal justice system, exacerbating poverty. 

In my own family, I’ve seen the results of racism and redlining play out over generations in Los Angeles, limiting where some family members could purchase homes, raise their children and retire. 

Racism is not in the past. Black lives matter. We can do better—we must do better. 

Hannah Hough is the editor in chief and executive director of the California Health Report.

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