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 rally for racial equality

National Nurses United on Trump’s Dispatch of Federal Troops: Send Aid Instead for Confronting Virus, Economic Crisis

National Nurses United joins with labor and community activists across Chicago to condemn the Trump Administration decision to dispatch militarized federal troops to Chicago, instead of the critical support Chicago, like other American cities, needs in the face of an exploding pandemic and worsening economic crisis.

National Nurses United
July 25, 2020
Nurses protest in front of The White House

National Nurses Statement on Trump’s Threat to Send Federal Troops to More Major U.S. Cities

With the coronavirus pandemic continuing to surge and a worsening economic crisis, the registered nurses of National Nurses United today condemned President Trump’s threat to dispatch federal troops to more major U.S. cities to arrest and assault protesters.

National Nurses United
July 22, 2020
Nurse holds sign "Racism is a public health crisis"

Chinese Hospital Nurses to Hold Action to Protest Racism as a Public Health Crisis

Registered nurses at Chinese Hospital will assemble and be available to media at Portsmouth Square in San Francisco to highlight the connection between racism and public health.

California Nurses Association/National Nurses United
July 18, 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