– Healthcare workers from across the Commonwealth united today to honor the many lives lost within our Black and Brown communities. In hospitals, health centers, and nursing homes, workers united in a moment of silence for eight minutes and 46 seconds—the amount of time a member of the police had his knee on George Floyd's neck—in order to honor those we’ve lost and express our commitment to fighting systemic racism and injustice.
“The Black community has suffered disproportionately during this pandemic, becoming infected, and dying, in numbers far greater than white Americans. The inequity that faces our fellow neighbors in housing, in healthcare, in pay – it is unjust, and we are here today to say it must stop,” said Tim Foley, Executive Vice President of 1199SEIU. “Black Lives Matter in the workplace and in our communities – and we need to start living that message to create an America that is truly for all.”
Healthcare workers have been on the frontlines caring for patients throughout the COVID-19 pandemic in hospitals, health centers, nursing homes, and private homes. The pandemic has highlighted pervasive health inequities that disproportionately claim Black, Brown, and Native American lives. The recent deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and countless others have shed light on a police system that has failed to protect and serve equally.
“Systemic racism is a sickness just as potent as the diseases we treat every day, and Massachusetts is not immune,” said Steve Walsh, President and CEO of the Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association. “As pillars of our communities, we recognize that we must be a part of the solution. We are committed to advocating for chronically underserved communities and acting as conduits for change as we work to shape a future free from prejudice and injustice.”
“Over the last several months, the staff and caregivers in nursing homes have been on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic working tirelessly to care for and protect the health of our mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters,” said Tara Gregorio, President of the Massachusetts Senior Care Association. “As we listen, learn and reflect on the tragic death of Mr. George Floyd, and other tragedies like it, we believe all individuals and organizations should use this moment to come together to lift our collective voices in calling for healing, justice, unity and change.”
Representing over 70,000 healthcare workers throughout Massachusetts and over 450,000 workers across the East Coast, 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East is the largest and fastest-growing healthcare union in America. Our mission is to achieve affordable, high quality healthcare for all. 1199SEIU is part of the 2 million member Service Employees International Union.
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About the Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association
The Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association (MHA) was founded in 1936, and its members include 70 licensed member hospitals, many of which are organized within 29-member health systems, as well as interested individuals and other healthcare stakeholders. MHA serves as the unified voice for Massachusetts hospitals on Beacon Hill and Capitol Hill.
About the Massachusetts Senior Care Association
The Massachusetts Senior Care Association represents a diverse set of organizations that deliver a broad spectrum of services to meet the needs of older adults and people with disabilities. Our members include nearly 400 nursing and rehabilitation facilities, assisted living residences, residential care facilities and continuing care retirement communities.