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AAC's PHO Nilesh Kalyanaraman's statement on racism

Updated: Jul 8, 2020

Anne Arundel County's Public Health Officer Dr. Nilesh Kalyanaraman made a public statement on the issue of racism Saturday May 30 which was endorsed on a Facebook post by Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman. The statement and Facebook post are below:

Statement by Dr. Nilesh Kalyanaraman:

“This week we watched George Floyd be murdered in Minneapolis. We watched Christian Cooper’s life*** get threatened while bird watching in Central Park. We watched on live TV as CNN reporter Omar Jimenez was arrested while covering the protest in Minneapolis. All three of them are black men who were the target of racist acts. What we saw are just small glimpses of the racism that occurs millions of times a day to black people out of the public’s sight. But they are visible and ever present to those who suffer its blows.

Racism is pervasive in our society and it takes a toll on the mental and physical toll of blacks. Beyond the individual acts of racism are the structures of racism in our financial, housing, employment, and health systems. We see the results in lower life expectancy, poorer maternal outcomes and higher rates of death from COVID-19, a virus that came into existance 6 months ago.

Every day with every action we must work to undo centuries of actions and thought that have led us to this point. Silence is the space in which injustice grows. We must all speak up when we see injustice, particularly when we are not the target of that injustice.

This is why the Anne Arundel County Department of Health declared racism as a public health issue late last year. We launched a COVID-19 Health Equity Initiative and are standing up an Office of Health Equity and Racial Justice. WE ask all of you to join in our mission of promoting the health of ALL in this county.

In solidarity,

Public Health Officer Nilesh Kalyanaraman and the Leadership of the Anne Arundel County Department of Health”

  • *** FACT CHECK: Christian Cooper, a New York City bird watcher encountered Amy Cooper in Central Park In New York City on May 25. Christian Cooper, who is African American, complained that Amy Cooper's dog was unleashed. Amy Cooper, who is Caucasian, can be heard on Christian Cooper's cell phone video as saying she was going to call police and: "“I’m going to tell them there’s an African American man threatening my life,” There does not appear to be evidence from press reports that Christian Cooper's life was directly threatened by Amy Cooper.

Facebook Post by Anne Arundel County Executive Pittman: