According the reports over 1,200 current Centers for Disease Control (CDC) employees – 10 percent of employees - have called for the center to declare racism a public health crisis in a letter that addresses the climate or racism and discrimination that they face.
“At CDC, we have a powerful platform from which to create real change. By declaring racism a public health crisis, the agency has an unprecedented opportunity to leverage the power of science to confront this insidious threat that undermines the health and strength of our entire nation.”
The letter that was addressed and sent to the director of the CDC, Dr. Robert R. Redfield, states that in order for the CDC to be able to fight the threat of racism they must “ clean its own house.” The letter highlights the lack of diversity in the higher ranked and paid positions in the federal agency.
Curators and supporters of the letter do not just want a covered internal change to take place nor do they want a continuation of “well meaning, yet underfunded” efforts to take place. They are calling for the CDC to publicly acknowledge systemic racism as a health crisis as well as more opportunities for internships and fellowships to be given to historically Black colleges and universities.
According to reports Dr. Redfield responded to the letter. A spokesperson for the CDC stated the “CDC is committed to fostering a fair, equitable, and inclusive environment in which staff can openly share their concerns with agency leadership.”
Other requests include the implementation of a mandatory implicit bias training, dismantling of barriers for career advancement of Black employees, increase of black representation, the addressing of toxic culture of exclusion and racial discrimination, implementation of policies to hold leaders and colleagues accountable for measurable change and the resolve of pending EEO cases of racial discrimination.