The Death of George Floyd and FIGHT’s response

A Statement From Philadelphia FIGHT Board President Bishop Ernest McNear and Chief Executive Officer Jane Shull about the death of George Floyd and FIGHT’s response

Philadelphia FIGHT joins in the national outrage about the death of George Floyd, the subsequent extraordinary delay by Minneapolis officials in charging the former police officers whom we watched murder a man accused of a nonviolent crime.  We share your outrage at the lack of national response to the unending list of these incidents,  that happen in every city and in every state with depressing regularity.  In a time when fear and anxiety about COVID-19 has taken over the national and local stage, and many are sheltering at home, or are forced into public contact by jobs that they cannot walk away from,  the death of George Floyd, the recent death of Breonna Taylor at the hands of the Louisville police, and the recent incident in Central Park in New York City involving Christian Cooper and a white woman who threatened him with racially motivated retaliation when he asked her to leash her dog, are clearly threatening to every person of color in the United States.  As a healthcare provider, we are sickeningly aware of the damage to the health of African American, Latinx, Asian and other people of color that comes from the stress of living in a society where they must fear for their safety at all times, in situations where the privileged white population can feel completely safe.  No one should have to worry for their safety because they are walking down the street,  moving about in the neighborhood, entering their own home, sitting in their own home, sleeping in their own home, engaging in recreational activities in public or private parks, being a child playing in public spaces, or private spaces, driving in their care, or engaging in any of the other activities that we have watched with horror lead to a senseless death of a person entitled to a life of dignity and worth.  

George Floyd Memorial

Much work needs to be done to address these issues.  For now, Philadelphia FIGHT is responding to these recent events in the following ways:  

As a healthcare provider our job is to take care of our patients’ health, and to do it without regard for race, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, ethnicity, national origin, age, or ability to pay. We will work to assure that every patient we serve is treated with dignity and respect.  Although right now taking care of your health has been made more challenging by COVID-19 and the need for social distancing, we want all of our patients to know that trauma and stress counseling is available at Philadelphia FIGHT Community Health Centers.  If you are feeling traumatized, stressed, upset or just needing to talk to somebody, we can help.  We can meet with you by Telehealth, by Facetime, or by phone.  If you are not our patient but would like to receive care from us, counseling is available to you as well.  We are also offering spiritual counseling at this difficult time.  If you feel that your physical health has been compromised due to the stress of these unconscionable events,  please also call your care provider, or if you are not our patients but would like to become our patient, y ou can also call us.  To access our care, please call one of these numbers.  Adults 215-790-1788;  267-725-0252.  Ages 13-24 215-344-1632. For children call  2125-5325-8600.

Please do not hesitate to seek help if you do not have health insurance as we serve uninsured people as well.  And please do not hesitate to seek help for yourself at this time for any reason.  We need to take care of ourselves and each other.  

As a longtime provider of community education around HIV/AIDS and Healthcare,  Philadelphia FIGHT has long emphasized the links between the AIDS Epidemic, and more recently the COVID-19 Epidemic, and racial and social justice.  Our theme with AIDS Education Month is Prevention, Treatment and Justice, because all will be required to bring an end to AIDS in our lifetime.  Similarly with COVID-19, just as with AIDS, as this new epidemic has advanced it has disproportionately affected the most vulnerable in our society.  The racial disparities are clear and tragic, and the links between risk and economic status are equally savage. This year, AIDS Education Month is being held virtually – occurring only online – in order to keep everyone safe, and to comply with stay at home requirements and limitations on crowds. We invite you to particularly consider the following list of online webinars, each of which will include material on racial and social disparities and the effect on the health of people who have been disenfranchised.  In addition, we are planning to add an additional webinar that will directly address the impact of police killings and brutality on the lives of the people we serve and others like them.  

AIDS Education Month June 2020

Event NameDateTimeLink to Event
Goals for our city and strategies for our future: Ending the HIV Epidemic in PhiladelphiaJune 11:00 PM
Why is the Rona doing the most, especially with the Black community? Let’s discuss the facts and what we can do moving forward.June 411:30 AM
Please, Put on Your Oxygen Mask Before Assisting OthersJune 101:00 PM
Healthcare and Human DignityJune 1210:00 AM
Impact of PrEP Education in Women Receiving Family Planning ServicesJune 1910:00 AM
Being Counted: HIV Surveillance, the Census & VotingJune 2610:00 AM

To our patients: 

Black Lives Matter.  Your life matters. 

If we can help you in the ways noted above or in any other way, to help you through this terrible time, please reach out.  And to all the communities we serve:  We will continue to seek ways to mitigate harm, and to change the social conditions that enable police killings, failure on the part of society to respond appropriately,  and the continued inequality and racism that underlies these injustices.