Statement of Solidarity

Summer 2020

“There is no end to what a living world will demand of you.” – Octavia Butler

"To accept one's past - one's history - is not the same thing as drowning in it; it is learning how to use it." - James Baldwin

FPHLP acknowledges the injustices of police brutality that have led to the loss of countless lives, ended too quickly.  We are at a moment (again) in history that has stripped away the facade of polite civility and highlights the raw reality of emotions that stem from structural inequity that impacts populations as a whole and is often maintained through violence and abuse of power.

The murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor at the hand of the police and Ahmaud Arbery’s violent motor and gun “lynching” are just the recent examples of the injustices laid upon Black Lives for centuries.  Structural and institutional racism are at the root and driving force of these inequities and injustices that impact population health (economic, emotional and physical). It is further demonstrated with the COVID-19 pandemic that has disproportionately affected Black and Brown communities and represent the largest percentage of deaths.  America’s political, federal and state systems are under a magnifying glass for the world to see and have prompted global responses demanding Black Lives Matter.  The U.S. police system is under scrutiny and more people are acknowledging systemic racism as an intrinsic American character that drives training and opportunities.

The protests that have occurred in all 50 states and territories are an expression of the call and need for change. Change is difficult and uncomfortable, but change is needed to dismantle engrained practices that continue to devalue Black lives, the lives of People of Color, and the lives of marginalized communities in the U.S and beyond.     

In public health, our goals are to prevent, promote and protect populations regardless of setting, color or values.  How will we move forward to prevent future oppression, promote positive community and protect communities from abuse and injustices?  We encourage each of us to work towards the world you want to see and the field of public health will continue to be front and center.  For the first time in decades we see mainstream media and social media pointing to racism and discrimination as well as police brutality as a public health issue.  

To our FPHLP alumni, we hope that you can take the knowledge, resources, and relationships that you built during the FPHLP forward into your work and promote a more equitable society.  Know that the work we each take on will look different.  Utilize your skills and talents that work best for you, but we encourage you to use them to make the change for a more just and equitable society. Be safe and recognize that a door is open, our choice to walk in and move towards promotion of equity is ours to make.

It is also important to acknowledge the need for people to heal and reflect.  We are all saddened, we are all tired and we are all ready to help our communities.  Remember, it is okay to unplug and pause.  

As always, we remain open to dialogue and conversation.  Feel free to reach out to us if you would like to talk, unpack, or express yourselves and we are committed to providing a safe space for you to do so.  

We are also open to hearing from you about how we can engage in this work together.  If you have ideas we welcome the opportunity to hear them.

Below are a few actions and resources to consider. We appreciate FPHLP alum Asia Island for putting together BLM resource guide.  It is a living document that is continuously being updated that is much more expansive than the resources provided below. Move forward in listening and focus on change.

"I do what I can, when I can do more, I will." - Octavia Butler

In solidarity,

The Michigan FPHLP Team 



Educate yourself on ally-hood/accomplice, anti-racism, and the history of the U.S.

Donate to organizations that are supporting justice work nationally and locally

  • Minnesota Freedom Fund
  • Black Lives Matter
  • ACLU
  • Bail Funds

Advocate to change policy and legislation 

Police Use of Force Project provides a database of national and local policy policies

Vote to elect people who represent your interests

Protest ideas, actions, institutions that are antithetical to your interests

Get Involved with local organizations

If you are in Michigan, here are a few:

Organize family and friends to register people to vote, to create letter writing campaigns to change law or policy, etc

Support independent news organizations


Trevor Noah provided a powerful perspective on the dominos of Summer 2020 events.


  • Letter from a Birmingham Jail - Martin Luther King, Jr
  • How to be an Antiracist - Ibram X. Kendi
  • Warmth of Other Suns - Isabel Wilkerson
  • Parable of the Talent - Octavia Butler
  • The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit - Thomas Sugrue
  • Fire Next Time - James Baldwin


The National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) released a new web portal Talking About Race that provides digital tools, online exercises, video instructions, articles and more.  It is a great primer for sharing with friends and family who are younger in their understanding of race, racism, and racist institutional structures.  

Teaching Tolerance