As we enter 2022 with the hope for an increased emphasis on advancing health equity in our society, we want to mark today the 6th National Day of Racial Healing, which takes place annually on the Tuesday after Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and seeks to bridge racial divides to transform our communities for our children and future generations. This national day of truth telling, dialogue, and collective purpose is part of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation (THRT) efforts, and a much needed reminder on the importance of standing together against racism and promoting healing.
by Tina Wong, Melanie Mc Dermott, Toni Lewis, and Renata Schiavo
In the United States, local governments play a key role in providing, promoting and regulating health services, economic advancement, education, land use and transportation, and safe neighborhoods with clean air and water. Even absent explicit discrimination, when that role is affected by implicit bias—the attitudes or stereotypes that unconsciously affect understanding and behavior—it leads to unequal access and unequal allocation of resources in these critical domains. The ability to vote, approvals of FHA loans, and access to quality education, greenspace and more, are just a few areas contributing to our overall health and wellbeing in which municipal bias continues to produce inequitable outcomes. Communities of color, low-income groups, people living with disabilities, LGBTQI+ groups, immigrants, and other marginalized social groups experience barriers to critical opportunities as a result. These inequitable outcomes are further reinforced by structural racism and other forms of social discrimination that exist in biased policies and practices in our local governments.