Racial Justice

Registered nurses know that our patients’ health is not only determined by what happens when they encounter the health care system, but largely by the social determinants of their lives in our wider society. As evidenced by documented, vast racial disparities in health care between Black, brown, and Indigenous peoples and white people; by the current uprisings dedicated to the defense of Black lives in response to brutality and killings by the state; and by a host of other injustices, our patients are struggling to survive in a society built upon racist institutions and structures.

We know that until we dismantle this structural racism and reimagine a society premised upon racial, social, economic, gender, and environmental justice, our patients will not be able to achieve and maintain the optimal health we wish for them, and sometimes, simply, to hold onto life.

As patient advocates dedicated to preventing and healing all forms of illness, protecting health and safety, and alleviating human suffering, nurses have a duty to champion what is best for our patients at the bedside and beyond. We have our own special roles to play in the movement for racial justice and must act now.

Nurses hold signs "Racism is a Public Health Crisis"

Las Palmas, El Paso RNs To Protest Manager’s Racist Behavior

Registered nurses at HCA’s Las Palmas Medical Center in El Paso, RNs will hold a press conference Wednesday to protest a manager’s racist diatribe directed at two Latina RNs and demand the hospital administration adhere to and enforce a zero tolerance for racism policy.

National Nurses Organizing Committee/National Nurses United
July 7, 2020
Nurses holding signs "Black Lives Matter"

Chicago Rally, March, and Car Caravan to Demand Racial Equity in Health Care

Hundreds of RNs and health care workers will join with Chicago's racial justice leaders this Saturday to demand that Mayor Lori Lightfoot defund the Chicago Police Department and reinvest those dollars into public services that will address glaring inequities in health care access and health care outcomes in communities of color.

National Nurses Organizing Committee/National Nurses United
June 26, 2020
Nurse holds sign "Nurses say Black Lives Matter"

Today City of Hope Medical Center Nurses to Hold Juneteenth Candlelight Vigil in Support of Black Lives Matter

Nurses at City of Hope Medical Center, are hosting a Juneteenth candlelight vigil in support of and in solidarity with Black Lives Matter - Nurses for Black Lives.

California Nurses Association/National Nurses United
June 19, 2020
Nurses hold signs "Racism is a Public Health Crisis"

This Juneteenth, celebrating Black freedom means caring about Black health

“I can’t breathe,” Gary Fowler told three different metro Detroit emergency departments, as he begged for a COVID-19 test. He was dismissed and turned away each time. On April 7, 2020, sitting up in a recliner because breathing was so difficult, he died at age 56.

Bonnie Castillo, Executive Director of National Nurses United
June 18, 2020
nurses holding signs

Nurses: Protesters are our patients. Stop attacking them

As we connect the lines, nurses can see that police violence against protesters spans calendar years, locations, and protest issues; it is ubiquitous. As advocates for public health and safety, we call for an end to this violence.

Bonnie Castillo, RN, opinion contributor for The Hill
June 15, 2020
Impact of structural racism in our nation’s health care system

What Algorithms Tell Us About Structural Racism in Health Care

A research study on a commercial computer program used to allocate health care resources on predicted future health care costs provided a window on the ongoing pervasive impact of structural racism in our nation’s health care system.

Bonnie Castillo, Executive Director of National Nurses United
October 29, 2019