We live in a society where your race, wealth, and zip code say a lot about your health prognosis. Even though we passed the groundbreaking Affordable Care Act in 2010 and California has expanded Medi-Cal in unprecedented ways, Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC) in our state continue to experience unacceptable disparities in health access and outcomes.
For example, 50 percent of uninsured people in California are Latinx. Black women are 40 percent more likely to die from breast cancer and four times more likely to die in childbirth than white women. American Indians have the highest suicide rate in the country. Nationwide, nearly a third of the nurses who have died of coronavirus in 2020 were Filipino, even though they make up just 4 percent of the nursing population.
While each community of color faces unique health barriers and inequities, we have more in common than not. All of our communities experience racism, discrimination and bias. Historically, our communities were not invested in, we continue to lack representation in the halls of power, and our needs are rarely seen as policy and budget priorities. And when they are seen, they are seen as a token add-on, as something that can be easily cut from the public policy and budgets in case of a recession or another crisis.
As a multi-ethnic network representing organizations serving millions of Californians, we bring together and build power in our diverse communities of color. Together we are stronger, louder and more powerful. Together, we cannot be ignored. As a network, we are a collective voice for racial justice, health equity and health care system reform.