Louisiana Student Nurses Association (LASN) is an organization representing students across the state of Louisiana. The LASN board recognizes that recent events of police brutality and the tragic loss of innocent Black lives have sparked outrage and protest. Breonna Taylor, George Floyd… Sadly, these are only two of names recently added to the long, still-growing list of those whose lives were taken simply because they were Black. The board would like to assert that we believe Black Lives Matter.
In order to make real, effective change, we must continue to lift every voice to fight injustice in all parts of our society. The time for turning a blind eye and being silent has long passed. It is time to stand up for what’s right. It is time to have these difficult conversations about race and racism in the U.S. They may not be easy to have, but they are important.
Racism and discrimination have been under addressed for centuries, leading these issues to become highly prevalent throughout our country’s history. We can see this in our healthcare system. In 2018, U.S. maternal mortality rates for Black women 37.1 deaths/100,000 live births, while for white women rates were only 11.8 deaths/100,000 live births. Racial disparities have become more evident in Louisiana during the COVID-19 pandemic, where over half of the resulting deaths across the state have been within the Black community. These issues are the result of systemic racism. As future nurses, advocates, and change agents, we are not powerless! We can alter the status quo.
The LASN board supports those exercising their constitutional right to peacefully protest. As we are still in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, LASN encourages those who participate in public protests to wear mask and face protection, bring water to stay hydrated, hand sanitizer, sunscreen, and practice social distancing as best you can. This is important, as the Black community already suffers from healthcare inequality.
In regards to our Black nursing students and faculty, know you are seen and heard; both your lives and voices matter. LASN asserts the importance of diversity and inclusion. Put simply, all lives cannot matter if Black lives do not.