On April 2, 2019, José E. López, Executive Director of the Puerto Rican Cultural Center, participated in Amazon’s 2nd Annual Conference Conversations on Race and Ethnicity (CORE), which took place at the Amazon Meeting Center in Seattle, WA. The conference focused on deepening Amazonians’ understanding of race and ethnicity and the systems that perpetuate harm in communities of color. The conference was attended by employees exclusively, ranging from early career to executive leadership and representing a wide range of backgrounds. Approximately, 2000 people attended and the event was livestreamed through internal channels to employees at other locations across the world. López, was one of several prominent scholars and practitioners to take a deep dive into the historical context of racism as it impacts on healthcare. Part of his presentation was to increase Amazonians foundational knowledge of racial injustices globally by providing historical account of lack of quality healthcare in communities of color from a systemic standpoint and how this impacts the life expectancy and quality of life for people in these communities. In addition, the effect that racism has on both the physical and mental health of people of color and the circumstances that these inequities stem from such as: socioeconomic status, and living conditions. The other speakers included: Dr. Natalia Molina, Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity, History, Latinx Studies, Immigration, Gender, Urban Studies, & Public Health at the University of Southern California; Mehrsa Baradaran, Associate Dean for Strategic Initiatives & Robert Cotten Alston Associate Chair in Corporate Law; and David Banks, Educator, Author and Founder of Eagle Academy.
López, in his presentation Rethinking Public Health – Racism and Colonialism: The Puerto Rican Context, he illustrated the connection between the prevalence of chronic diseases among racialized communities of color and their unnatural causes rooted in the practice of racism and colonialism; using the the Puerto Rican context as a case study.
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