CHLPI Statement on Racial Justice
From the Food Law and Policy Clinic and the Health Law and Policy Clinic of Harvard Law School
Black Lives Matter.
Like people of conscience around the world, we at the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation are outraged and anguished by the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and far, far too many other Black people. We are outraged and anguished – but not surprised. The deep, pervasive structural racism and systemic violence against Black people have been part of our country since its beginning.
The profound injustices of our society manifest in many ways, including in the health, public health, and food systems that CHLPI works to reform. Historically, our health and food systems have exploited the bodies of Black people, advanced anti-Black policies, locked Black people out of services critical for health and well-being, and ignored voices of Black people. The disparate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Black people reflects inequities in housing, employment, food security, access to care, access to educational resources, and incarceration. These inequities are inextricably interwoven with structural and institutional racism; we cannot remedy them without taking on racism. Health justice and food justice can come only with racial justice.
There is hard and necessary work ahead of us if we are to make true, systemic, lasting change. As individuals and as an organization, we at CHLPI pledge to reflect on our role in supporting, exacerbating, and failing to meaningfully question and address systemic racism. As a white-led organization at the predominantly white institution of Harvard we pledge to listen, learn, reform, do more and do better to bring change. We will thoroughly evaluate our own policies and practices through an anti-oppression lens and will leverage our platform and expertise as a law and policy organization to call upon policymakers to investigate instances of racism and pass policies that create safeguards and eliminate structural racism. The arc of the moral universe is long – and it is on us to bend it toward justice. As lawyers (and mentors of the next generation of lawyers), we remain hopeful that real change can happen and commit ourselves to that effort. The alternative is unacceptable. Black Lives Matter.