Racial Justice

Two nurses holding signs "Nurses Say Black Lives Matter" and "Racism is a Public Health Crisis"

Registered nurses know that our patients’ health is not only determined by what happens when they encounter the health care system, but also by the social determinants of their lives. Racialized inequalities have a profound effect on how public policies, institutional practices, cultural representations, and social norms shape our society. As patient advocates dedicated to preventing and healing all forms of illness, protecting health and safety, and alleviating human suffering, union nurses play an active role in dismantling structural racism. Read more »

The first convention of the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses, Boston, 1909

Celebrating the pioneering National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses

As nurses committed to fighting against the public health crisis of racism, we must endeavor to reveal and share our history so we can build toward a different future – one of inclusion, peace, and justice.

Historical Black nurses

Six Black nurses and health care workers who fought for Black liberation

The stories of these six Black nurses and health care workers teach us to imagine the impossible, to fight for justice, and to collectively build institutions that advance freedom while challenging those that would keep it from us.


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Naming, understanding, and overcoming racism

Every day, nurses see how racism operates by unfairly disadvantaging some individuals and communities while advantaging others. Racism persists when we do not aggressively challenge it. The first step to confronting racism is calling it what it is.

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Naming, understanding, and taking action against anti-Asian racism

NNU remains steadfast in our commitment to eradicating racism wherever it operates — from violent attacks, to government policy, to workplace discrimination, to the long history of white supremacy.

Exercise: Talking about racism, racial justice, and health care

An exercise to help us think about and discuss the long-standing public health crisis of racism in the United States. By taking some time to understand and explain the problem, we can start to address and change it in our workplaces and in our communities.

Exercise: Growing racial justice

Think, learn, and share about how you and your coworkers, friends, or family have worked together across different backgrounds to build a more just and equitable society for all people.

Signs and stickers

Download printable signs and stickers to use in the workplace and for actions.


Nurses of Chinese Hospital stand with their patients against racism

The Covid-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted our communities of color. As nurses and patient advocates, we oppose all forms of structural racism that negatively affect the public health of our communities.

Safe staffing ratios help nurses address disparities in health care

The ever-rising cost of health care and its discriminatory characteristics contribute to the growing chasm in wealth inequality and health disparities. We all deserve the best care possible and, studies show, staffing ratios save lives!


When future students read about the Covid-19 pandemic, nurses want our stories to be emblazoned on those pages. We want our grandchildren to understand the righteous anger we felt, rushing between far too many patients at once — some of them our own dying colleagues — while our employers cut corners on staffing and posted record profits.
Filipinx registered nurses are an essential part of the labor movement as rank-and-file union members and union leaders. This October as we celebrate their achievements and contributions during Filipinx American History Month, we highlight Zenei Triunfo-Cortez, RN, a national nurse leader who has embodied the essence of union solidarity for decades.
Juneteenth is not just a federal holiday. It’s a day of empowerment and transformation of African American lives in this country. It’s important to recognize this day and our contributions to this country.


The “California is in the Heart” exhibit is a comprehensive look at the history of the Filipinx American experience. The exhibit grew out of a partnership between the California Nurses Association and the UC Davis Bulosan Center for Filipino Studies.
On May 14, 2022, a white supremacist shot and killed 10 Black people at the Tops supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y. Ten days later, 19 elementary school children and two teachers were shot and killed in Texas. A week after that, a patient shot four people dead at a Tulsa, Okla. medical office. After these horrors, nurses know that moral outrage is not enough.
In October, the California Nurses Association welcomed Gov. Gavin Newsom’s signature enacting landmark legislation to require implicit bias education and training for nursing students and new graduates in California.

Press releases

President Zenei Triunfo-Cortez, RN, of National Nurses United was honored to speak at today’s celebration of the anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington, marking the 60th anniversary of the march.
This Supreme Court actively promotes inequality, oppression, and discrimination. As nurses, we are advocates for our patients, communities, and ourselves.
NNU today urged the rejection of a new Florida bill intended to ban funding for diversity, equity, and inclusion programs and eliminate majors focused on the study of race and gender in Florida colleges and universities calling it an attack on students of color, women, and access for all students to essential curriculum in higher education.
Nurses mourn the tragic death of Tyre Nichols at the hands of Memphis police. We extend our deepest sympathies to his family and the community fighting for justice in the wake of his killing.