NACDD’s Statement Denouncing White Supremacy and White Supremacist Domestic Terrorism as Public Health Threats



ATLANTA (June 29, 2022) –  The National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD) Board of Directors issued the following statement today in response to several recent incidences of racist violence across the country:
“Two years ago, the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors joined with other public health organizations in declaring racism a threat to public health. We also made a commitment within our Strategic Plan to become an anti-racist organization, and our Board Presidents’ Challenges also have focused on helping to improve understanding of racism within public health organizations and ways we can collaborate to create more equitable, anti-racist public health programing.
While this work continues, we feel we also must explicitly denounce white supremacy and white supremacist domestic terrorism as some of the greatest threats to American health and well-being.
White supremacist domestic terrorism continues to undermine the safety, livelihood, and basic human rights of people of color, the LGBTQIA+ community, and religious minorities living in the United States.
In particular, there are hundreds of years of evidence demonstrating the compounded effects that white supremacy has incurred upon Black, Latinx, American Indian/Native American, Native Hawaiian, Asian and Pacific Islander Americans, and immigrants and refugees that has resulted in these communities being burdened with higher rates of sickness and death from preventable disease. These years of evidence are rife with examples of policies, procedures, and laws that codified and institutionalized the discrimination that comes with white supremacy.
The long-term consequences of discriminative racist policy on the built environment and opportunities for wealth have prevented people of color from having equitable access to safe and affordable food, housing, economic opportunity, quality healthcare, and transportation. Additionally, research is beginning to uncover how exposure to trauma due to racist violence and discrimination can increase risk for chronic diseases.
According to a 2018 report from the Southern Poverty Law Center, the number of hate groups in the U.S. is the highest in 20 years, with the majority of hate groups being driven by white supremacist ideology.

2021 report from the Anti-Defamation League showed that from 2012 through 2021, nearly three in four murders classified as domestic terrorism were committed by right-wing extremists, most of whom were white nationalists.

The FBI’s 2020 hate crime statistics report noted that 62% of single bias incidents targeted specific race/ethnicities, nearly 25% targeted LGBTQIA+ people, and 13% targeted religious groups.
Domestic terrorism, by its nature, seeks to prevent people from participating in daily life in their communities, in the political life of their government, and in their own personal attempts to protect their well-being, while elevating the political beliefs of the terrorists.
As a public health organization committed to promoting health and advancing anti-racism, it has always been NACDD’s goal to seek out the root causes of the illnesses that impact our communities.
Wherever possible in our work, we will continue to actively facilitate the development of strategies to promote health equity and eradicate health disparities in partnership with communities experiencing the greatest need. We also will lend our support, expertise, and resources to organizations seeking to dismantle white supremacist structures and domestic terror organizations.

We call on leaders, including elected officials at all levels, to help identify policies that foster discrimination and eliminate these causes of health disparities, and we stand ready to work with them in this process.

We will begin this work by listening and learning how we can be most helpful. We will continue to report back with regular updates on this and our other anti-racist activities.
It is not enough to be angry. It is not enough to be horrified. We must ensure our actions are enough to protect each other from this growing threat.”

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