ONA Statement on George Floyd, Systemic Racism

The statement is attributable to the Ohio Nurses Association and President Deborah Arms, PhD, RN:

“The nursing profession is driven to protect and advocate for patients. The ethics of caring drive the practice of nursing, guiding nurses to practice with compassion and respect for the inherent dignity, worth and unique attributes of every person. Race, background, or gender does not define the worth of a person. Every day, nurses provide care to everyone in need, without judgment or hesitation. Care without discrimination isn’t just the right thing to do; it is what all humans deserve.

George Floyd and many other people of color have died at the hands of law enforcement because of their skin color. Daily, nurses witness inequities in health care, education and housing. The devaluing of human beings because of skin color is a clear systemic issue.

Nurses come from diverse backgrounds – some privileged, some not and some having grown up with generations-long racism and hatred. No matter their background, nurses are able to rise above. When patients say “I can’t breathe,” nurses rush in. If the 2.86 million nurses in the United States are able to see the value in each human life, no matter the color of one’s skin, then the millions of other Americans and professions therein can do the same and must do the same. We merely have to realize that every human deserves compassion and respect.

The Ohio Nurses Association encourages Americans to peacefully stand for the inherent dignity, worth and unique attributes of every person using their first amendment right. Silence is complicity, so we must speak up. We must denounce the consequences of systemic racism and hate. We must rise above and advocate for justice for the Floyd family and use our voice to promote change.”