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  • Writer's pictureCSUH

Declaration of Anti-Black Racism as a Human Rights and Public Health Crisis in San Francisco

At the Center on Substance Use and Health, our mission is to create better health outcomes through research for all people who use substances. The societal response to substance use has long been plagued by racism, with many punitive U.S. laws and policies developed based on fear of Black, Latinx, or Asian populations. The killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Riah Milton, and countless others lead us to reflect on the impact of racism, particularly anti-Black racism, in our field of study. We stand in solidarity with the City and County of San Francisco Health Commission in declaring anti-Black racism as a human rights and public health crisis in San Francisco, and commit to addressing the impact of structural racism among Black, Indigenous, and People of Color communities.

To address issues of racial injustice, we commit to the following in our research:

  • We will name racism in our proposals and research findings, as appropriate, and acknowledge the intersection of other marginalized identities (including those based on sex, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, nationality, immigration status, criminal justice history, education level, ability status, neuronormativity, and socioeconomic status).

  • We will lay out the justification for collecting data on race and ethnicity in our research, and thoughtfully examine how racism and racist policies influence results and shape health outcomes in order to move forward the dialogue of racial disparities in health and substance use.

  • We will cautiously evaluate research findings associated with race to avoid musings not based on science which perpetuate the long history of scientific racism in the United States.

  • We will intentionally address stigma, promote respect for the rights of all people who use substances, and support people in strategies that meet their actual conditions of use.

  • We will thoughtfully include Black, Indigenous, and People of Color communities in our research.

○ We acknowledge the history of medical research in the United States has harmed Black, Indigenous, and People of Color communities through unethical, coercive, and brutal experimentation. We commit to upholding the principles of the Nuremberg Code, Declaration of Helsinki, and Belmont Report to protect the physical, psychological, and legal safety of research participants.

○ We will redouble our efforts to seek input from community members and community-based organizations about how to equitably involve study participants from communities that are historically oppressed and underserved.

○ We commit to sharing our findings with the communities that participate in our research. We will include accessible interpretations of our findings on our website, social media platforms, and in-person at our research site. We take seriously our responsibility to follow up with study participants to share the results of our work, its expected impact, and next steps.

This statement is just a beginning. We recognize that antiracist efforts are dynamic and require ongoing attention to dismantle racism in the United States. We commit to these efforts as part of our work to create better health outcomes for people who use substances.


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