We condemn the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by a mob led by white nationalists in the strongest possible terms.
We also acknowledge that while this direct threat to our democracy was enacted by these violent extremists and incited by President Trump, they were enabled by leaders in our own government who have been encouraging and emboldening them for years.
Like many of our partners and allies, we see the direct links between yesterday’s attack and our daily work of promoting and protecting health and justice. While our body politic has been chronically ill—buttressed as it is by racist and inequitable structures—yesterday’s insurrection in the Capitol was an acute, egregious attack.
We’ve dedicated our careers to making it clear that our health and wellbeing is shaped by the social and political determinants of health—by the distribution of power, resources, and opportunity in society; by the policies (and politicians) we choose; and by the institutions and structures that govern us.
The events of the last 48 hours shows us this through the extremes—what happens when white supremacists are given space to fester and how toxic the result can be. It also shows us the promise—as we saw in Georgia—of what happens when organizers stay steadfast in pursuit of their vision for a more just democracy.
As strongly as we condemn yesterday’s attempted coup, we also encourage everyone to take concrete steps to help protect and secure the health of our democracy and, by extension, the wellbeing of our communities and families. Before we become desensitized to yesterday’s news, here are few ways to help right now.
1) Hold them accountable.
- Several elected political leaders incited and enabled yesterday’s domestic terrorist attack by white nationalists through baseless and reckless attempts to overturn the election. They must face consequences. Add your name to support the investigation and expulsion of any member of Congress complicit in yesterday’s assault on the Capitol. https://gopcoup.com/
- Ask them to send a letter to Vice President Mike Pence and current Cabinet officials urging them to invoke the 25th Amendment. Yesterday’s brazen incitement of violence and government overthrow by the sitting President clearly and unequivocally makes him unfit for office.
- Demand that they condemn the acts of Donald J. Trump and call for immediate impeachment. The Senate must convict and remove him from office immediately.
3) Redouble your commitment to understanding and addressing the political and structural determinants of health.
- Yesterday’s events, both in the Capitol and in Georgia—where organizers brought about two historic Senate victories—underscore what we’ve known to be true for years. Moving upstream is not, and can not, be just about identifying and addressing the social needs of individual patients. It is about dismantling and transforming the structures and policies that promote and preserve—or undermine and deny—our health and wellbeing in the first place. If your institution has a plan to consider individual social needs but isn’t talking about structural racism and the political determinants of health, then now, more than ever, is the time to start those conversations and make a plan. Contact us if you’d like help.
In solidarity and health,
Rishi & Sadena