YWCA Tulsa's Campaign Aims To Contextualize Racial Inequality As Public Health Crisis

Saturday, April 24th 2021, 9:18 pm


The Young Women’s Christian Association’s "Stand Against Racism" campaign is underway at the group’s Tulsa chapter. Saturday's virtual event was centered around healthcare. 

Health experts and local leaders from various sectors believe the campaign is a pathway to solutions but addressing racism as a public health crisis is far from over. 

Access to healthcare for certain groups, social activists said, isn't easily accessible. 

"Racism is not a unique problem,” YWCA Tulsa director of community engagement Ebony Easiley said. “Racism is something that permeates in every system.”

Easiley said Saturday’s panel titled "From Declarations To Change: Addressing Racism as a Public Health Crisis" is the continuation of a nationwide conversation. 

City of Tulsa chief resilience officer and panelist Krystal Reyes said everyone needs to be on the same page about social determinants of health, both structural and interpersonal.

"The conditions where people work, live, play. And that could be education, housing, education system, justice system. Even the financial system,” Reyes said. 

Panelists said this also includes transportation and access to grocery stores with healthy food options.

According to the most recent Tulsa Equality Indicators report, three-fourths of Tulsans north of Interstate 244 live in a food desert and are twice as likely to use the emergency room as South Tulsans, who live 200% longer past retirement age. 

Data shows white Tulsans are 25% more likely to have health insurance than Hispanic and Latinx Tulsans. Black families are 2.5 times more likely to experience infant mortality than white families.

"I don't want my daughter to have this conversation and stand up and do interviews and talk about why there's disparity for children and for people who look like her,” Easiley said. 

Organizers told us speaking out plainly against racism and inequities with a statue or a mural is a start but isn't enough. They said real change comes from creating a space for conversation and providing tangible resources.

"What can we do at the policy level? What can we do to hold our representatives? What can we do to hold all our city leaders accountable?” Easiley said. 

Reyes believes change happens when we all have a seat at the table. 

"These conversations are for all of us,” Reyes said. “We all live, work and play together here in Tulsa.”


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