PHI Statement on Racial Justice
Over the last few months, our country has experienced two major developments that have demanded we recognize the destructive power of structural racism.
The COVID-19 crisis has upended daily life, claimed more than 107,000 lives in the U.S. alone (as of today), and taken a devastating toll on the entire long-term care sector, especially nursing homes. But the coronavirus has most aggressively hit communities of color, with Black and Latino people disproportionately represented among COVID-19 cases and deaths, and nursing homes that primarily serve people of color more severely affected. The home and community-based services sector—where many people of color work and receive supports—has also suffered greatly. PHI recognizes that responding to the pandemic is a matter of racial equity.
Another recent event, the May 25 murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers—the latest in a long, sordid history of police killing Black Americans—vividly illustrates the widespread harm of racial injustice. This horrific incident has sparked an uprising of people demanding an end to racist and violent policing and calling for police accountability and reform. PHI stands in solidarity with this movement and with Black communities nationwide.
As always, and more than ever: Black Lives Matter.
Direct care workers—the focus of PHI’s mission—know first-hand the negative impacts of structural racism (and other forms of inequality, including sexism and xenophobia). Among direct care workers, 59 percent are people of color, 86 percent are women, and 26 percent are immigrants. Because our society devalues these populations and direct care work in general, these workers are too often forced to survive on jobs characterized by poverty-level wages, few benefits, minimal training, and limited career advancement opportunities.
As they wrestle with poverty, many direct care workers must also navigate a society that targets them routinely because of their race, gender, and/or immigration status. Yet when a profound health crisis emerges, these workers are expected to keep everyone safe with little support or protection for themselves. For PHI, racial justice also means transforming the quality of direct care jobs so that a largely people of color (and female) workforce can make ends meet, support their families, and live the lives they envision.
For George Floyd, for Black people living in constant fear of police officers, and for people of color disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 as direct care workers, nursing home residents, and low-income home and residential care clients—and for many more—PHI is committed to co-creating a world rooted in racial justice.
We invite you to join us.