Black & Brown people are dying disproportionately from COVID-19. This doctor’s political change message via necessary advocacy applies not only to Black & Brown folks but to all who are aggrieved.
Political change require advocacy
Dr. Oliver Brooks, President of the National Medical Association (NMA), ended his interview with Lawrence O’Donnell with a mission statement to black people who are dying at unprecedented and disproportionate rates from COVID-19.
“We need to advocate for ourselves,” Dr. Brooks said. “I keep getting the feeling that we look helpless. ,,, The NMA has been advocating for decades about this issue with the disparities. We can’t just wait for someone to do it for us. For example, advocate by doing something in seven months. There will be an election. Look at the position of those that are running, state, local, federal, and make your determination. We need to advocate for ourselves as patients. … Support organizations that have your best interests at heart. That is how we can go past this and not just be a victim.”
I listened to that message wearing two hats. One, as a black person. And the second as an activist working to make the lives of all Americans better. And it spoke to my two hats.
Nothing is left to be said about what people of color need to do for getting better healthcare. They must, as the doctor said, be their own advocate and with that demand equitable medical services.
But to Americans in general, that message is prescient. Just like people of color have not sufficiently advocated to be treated equitably by the health industrial complex, the poor and middle-class have not been consistent in advocating for themselves on many issues from healthcare, to the environment, to child care, to family leave, to college debt relief, to affordable college for all who want to attend.
We need to stop settling for crumbs. We must demand what we and our forebearers have earned. This country was built by all and not by an extractive rich.
“The NMA has been advocating for decades about this issue” You have made microscopic progress. Physician heal thyself.