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.

Nurse holds sign "Breonna Taylor"

Nurses: Breonna Taylor decision a miscarriage of justice

National Nurses United today joins those across the nation seeking social justice in deploring the failure of a Kentucky grand jury to hold Louisville police officers accountable for the death of Breonna Taylor who was shot and killed in a mistaken late-night raid in March.

National Nurses United
September 24, 2020
Nurses holds signs "Racial Justice Now" and "Protect Nurses"

Registered nurses at Hines VA to rally over concerns of patient safety and systemic racism and discrimination

Registered nurses at Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital will hold a rally on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020 to alert the public to patient safety concerns and the systemic racism and discrimination in nursing assignments, announced National Nurses United today.

National Nurses United
September 22, 2020

Racial JusticeCOVID-19

• Veterans Affairs


Rally at Johns Hopkins Hospital against medical debt - July 20, 2019

Caravan and Speak out Tuesday calls for official end to Johns Hopkins’ practice of suing patients over medical debt

Coalition for a Humane Hopkins, in addition to Johns Hopkins University students and Baltimore community advocates, on Tuesday, Sept. 15 will hold a caravan and speak out to urge Johns Hopkins Hospital to formally commit to ending its controversial practice of suing patients over medical debt.

National Nurses Organizing Committee/National Nurses United
September 14, 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