March 24, 2021 Statement

Health Net of West Michigan focuses on advocating for equity within our community. We work to develop policies that provide equitable access to healthcare and social services and leverage our collective power through expertise and lived experiences to influence systemic change. We are driven toward social justice and center humanity in our work to disrupt the status quo, built to uphold white supremacist policies.

The murders of eight people, including six women of Asian descent in Atlanta, Georgia, is only the most recent example of violence perpetuated against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. This adds to the more than 3,800 reported anti-Asian racist incidents in the past year. Not all racist acts are reported (shunning, slurs, physical attacks, etc.), meaning the number of occurrences is significantly higher and more detrimental for our AAPI neighbors.

Racism, sexism, and violence are embedded in the history of the United States. As a country, we have implemented policies like the Chinese Exclusion Act and Japanese internment camps designed to separate and codify racist acts against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Paralleling infectious disease outbreaks like SARS, COVID-19 has reignited long-standing acts of violence toward Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Asian American medical personnel at all levels continue to provide care to patients suffering from a variety of illnesses, including COVID-19. They are applauded professionally for their medical expertise yet, outside of the clinical setting these same professionals fear verbal and physical attacks from others due to false rhetoric about the source of the pandemic. As an organization, Health Net of West Michigan, will not stand silent and therefore complicit with any racist acts.

Good intent does not absolve us of our responsibility. We ask that our partners consider the following as we move forward to dismantle the unjust systems that allow marginalization and oppression of groups based on skin color, culture, and language:

Think about the policy tables at which you sit and consider the following:

  • Who stands to gain from this policy or practice?
  • What are potential unintended consequences of this policy?
  • What is the historical context behind this decision?
  • What relationship do we have with those impacted by this course of action?
  • Whose voices are not represented? Why?
  • Do you have the power to make decisions? If not, who does and how can you advocate for an equitable decision-making process?

Speaking out is one tool with action following the statement. At Health Net, we are committed to our values of Well-being, Equity, Collaboration, Adaptability, Respect and Education. We will continue to model these in our on-going journey toward anti-racism and the vision to build a community where EVERYONE has a FAIR and JUST opportunity to be as healthy as possible.