Statement From Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett On Black History Month

“Today marks the start of Black History month, following the only federal holiday to honor an African American, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Given our ongoing battle against the worst pandemic in a century, this year’s national observance theme is appropriately focused on ‘Black Health and Wellness.’ In 1966, Dr. King uttered his best-known words regarding health: ‘Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health is the most shocking and inhuman.’

Conversations about the role of race in our country remain difficult, contentious, and often painful. Late last year, Governor Hochul signed a package of legislation declaring racism a public health crisis. This allows us to take important steps to identify and address inequities in our healthcare system and society.

Dr. King was an optimist and I hope, as we begin to see a bend in the Omicron curve, we can recall his words, ‘the arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice.’ Aspiring to realize Dr. King’s promise: we must keep bending that arc.”