Skagit County Public Health is repulsed and outraged by the senseless killing of George Floyd. We wholly stand with the nationwide demand that those involved be called to justice. Systemic biases are prevalent in our society and harm people of color in numerous areas of their lives. Public Health is acutely aware structural racism impacts the health of many Skagitonians. Although health inequities often do not receive the same attention as violence against people of color, such disparities are just as deadly.
COVID-19 has laid bare the socio-economic disadvantages that people of color in our community face due to racism and inequity. Nationwide, Black Americans are dying from COVID-19 at three times the rate of white Americans. Last month in Skagit County, 75 percent of identified COVID-19 cases were members of the Latinx community. These are just a few of many stark examples of how COVID-19 is disproportionately impacting communities of color and highlight the existing inequities in our systems. Further, although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s existing data does not indicate a disproportionate level of COVID-19 among Native Americans countrywide, there is undeniable evidence demonstrating racism severely affects the health of Native Americans. This reality is crucially important given that Samish Indian Nation, Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe, Swinomish Tribal Community and Upper Skagit Tribe are among the Skagit community.
Racism is a public health threat that cannot be ignored. These unacceptable injustices require action and real solutions. We recognize and know that Skagit Public Health must intentionally strive to do better. Our mission is to serve all Skagit County residents and create positive health outcomes and living conditions for everyone.
We are making a commitment to equality, justice, and inclusion. We realize the answers to these issues are found from the wisdom and experience among our local Black, Latinx and Tribal communities.
With the support of our County Commissioners and Board of Health, we will establish an Equity Task Force lead by leaders within Skagit’s Black, Latinx and Tribal communities. Given the immediate threat of COVID-19, we will continue to focus coronavirus response efforts on assisting communities disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.
As we continue to move forward in service, we welcome guidance on ways we can do better. We ask for community feedback. You can reach us at 360-416-1500 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org