The first Black Health Lead at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health, Roberta Timothy spoke to the Toronto Star about the impact of COVID-19 on Black communities and potential solutions for racism in health care.
“How do you fix a problem that was really, really broken before the pandemic, because you’ve already denied the problem and that anti-Black racism exists?” said Timothy, an assistant professor, teaching stream, who is the principal investigator for Black Health Matters, a research project that seeks to identify how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted Black communities in Canada and worldwide.
Through her nearly 30 years working in community health and anti-violence efforts, Timothy said she has found that discussing the impact of anti-Black racism on health is challenging for many. Yet, despite the lack of dialogue, she said, the effects of anti-Black racism in Canada can be seen clearly in the rates of diabetes, chronic health issues, cancer and HIV.
“People keep talking about ‘I can't wait to go back to normal,’ but normal for us was experiencing anti-Black violence on a daily basis,” Timothy told the Toronto Star. “We don't want to go back to that, we want to hopefully change that and support real wellness for our communities.”