In the wake of the riots allegedly over the tragic death of George Floyd, Washington State Secretary of Health John Wiesman released a statement that contained some curious claims. We say allegedly because many protest march organizers-groups are strongly distancing themselves from the rioters, including that that took place here in our region. That having been said, here's Wiesman's statement.

This was his beginning:

 “As Secretary of Health, I am deeply disturbed, saddened and outraged by the violent, senseless death of George Floyd. Communities across Washington state and around the country are responding with an outpouring of anger, frustration and protest as we collectively mourn the loss of yet another Black man killed by a white police officer. In this time of extreme grief and weariness, I want our Black community members and all People of Color to know that the Department of Health is standing with you in solidarity, support and love."

That's normal, heartfelt and standard for the average public official. However, then he strays off into rather interesting territory, attempting to perhaps 'blame' society in general and the healthcare system for what's happened.

"It is a shame that a national outrage is serving as a sobering reminder to many of us that violence against Black lives has occurred since the founding of this nation, and the broader public health and healthcare system too has been a bystander and, in some egregious circumstances, complicit in perpetuating harm.

While more recently, we have taken intentional action to address the root causes of health inequities, including structural racism and other forms of oppression, there is still a lot of work to do. Public health must continue to respond and lead with racial equity and social justice. Racism is a public health threat that can’t be ignored. And leading with racial equity and social justice requires us to prioritize the health and wellbeing of historically marginalized and oppressed communities — including Black, Indigenous and People of Color, individuals with disabilities and the LGBTQ+ community, to name a few."

His statement mirrors the views on COVID put out by Governor Inslee. One of Inslee's criteria for determining if counties and the state can re-open is to assess the impact of COVID on ethnic and gender groups.COVID and other pandemic and health issues are not race-sensitive. They attack human beings regardless of backround. Wiesman appears to be throwing the healthcare industry under the bus, insinuating that all providers, workers and systems in WA are guilty of racism.

Perhaps that was not his intention, but in the wake of these riots and violence (which are NOT related to peaceful marches and dialogue) his was a very interesting choice of words, perhaps even divisive for everyone.

To read the entire release and get more information, click on the button below.

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