SILVER SPRING, MD – On April 20, 2021, a jury found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty on all charges for the killing of George Floyd. The following statement is attributable to American Nurses Association (ANA) President Ernest J. Grant, PhD, RN, FAAN:
"As a nation, we witnessed the murder of George Floyd as Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for an agonizing 9 minutes and 29 seconds in May of 2020.
Like many men and women before him and others after him, I wondered if justice would be served to a white person for taking a Black life. As a Black man, I am relieved by this verdict and what it stands for – accountability. The verdict is a pebble in the river of social justice where true justice can only be served when the senseless killings of unarmed Black people end. Just mere minutes before Chauvin’s verdict was delivered, Ma’Khia Bryant, a 16-year-old Black girl, was shot and killed by a police officer.
The simple truth is this: George Floyd should be alive today. Daunte Wright, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tamir Rice, Elijah McClain, along with countless other Black men, women and children who have lost their lives to acts of police brutality and racism should be alive today. I continue to lift up all the families left behind to grieve unimaginable loss and navigate the lifelong trauma of losing a loved one to violence.
At its core, racism is a public health crisis that impacts a person’s mental, spiritual, physical health and overall quality of life. As a nurse, The Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements obligates all nurses to be allies and to advocate for and speak up against racism, discrimination, and injustice. We must respect the human dignity of all people and take a stand against the social injustices that divide our nation.
Acts of racism, violence and discrimination are deplorable and major social determinants of health that have absolutely no place in a civil, humane society. The consistent outcry that erupts in the form of peaceful protests and civil unrest each time a Black life is taken indicates that our nation is past the point of understanding and discussions. Authentic allyship is integral to making progress toward upending racism is overdue. Performative activism, such as “black squares” and hashtags, will no longer do. We need comprehensive approaches to address systemic racism and dismantle unfair structural practices rooted in white supremacy that have plagued our nation for centuries and continue to threaten the health and well-being of every American.
I call on leaders and policy makers at the local, state, and national level to commit to sustainable actions to address racism and discrimination, police brutality, and basic human rights. We must hold ourselves and our leaders accountable to committing to reforms and action.
Moments such as these test the moral arc of our country’s conscience and her humanity. We all still have much more work ahead of us to do together to truly achieve justice for all, and not just a few.”
ANA is committed to actively advocating to address all forms of discrimination and inequities in our health care system and across our communities. Consistent with this obligation, ANA has taken positions against racism, discrimination and health care disparities and advocating for human rights.
About the American Nurses Association (ANA)
The American Nurses Association (ANA) is the premier organization representing the interests of the nation's 4.2 million registered nurses. ANA advances the profession by fostering high standards of nursing practice, promoting a safe and ethical work environment, bolstering the health and wellness of nurses, and advocating on health care issues that affect nurses and the public. ANA is at the forefront of improving the quality of health care for all. For more information, visit www.nursingworld.org