Never did I anticipate that my first Friends of Flo blog post would happen when this country is being torn apart by racism and police brutality – again. I have been an American citizen for only 14 years. I chose to add American citizenship to my Canadian citizenship because I had faith in this country that I chose to live in. I have tried to learn the history of American racism. It is entrenched in this culture and I do not understand why there is a culture of healthcare delivery, law enforcement, and social principles that so strongly and overtly sustains racism. What are white people afraid of in this country? Where do you stand?
The president of the American Nurses Association (ANA) is Ernest J. Grant, PhD, RN, FAAN. He is a black man. And a registered nurse. He wrote a compelling editorial on the ANA website, today that I urge you to read (see the Friends of Flo Resource section). Dr. Grant reminds us that as registered nurses who abide by our Code of Ethics, we are morally obligated to advocate against racism and speak up against it, and discrimination and to clearly stand for justice. Our Code of Ethics is non-negotiable. If you have ‘RN’ behind your name, then this is what you are morally and legally obligated to uphold. “Silence is complicity,” Dr. Grant wrote.
What can you do? Educate yourself. Listen to others. Be the leader that brings people together within your own community, where you work, with your co-workers. Commit yourself to being part of the movement to develop sustainable community efforts that will change this culture we live in. Examine your own inherent values. Hold yourself accountable for your own attitudes. Hold your leaders accountable through peaceful action and reform. Stand up. Use language of peace and inclusion – – not the language of violence and division.