A B O U T
HOW WE STARTED
Our group started as conversations between emerging and veteran activists, front-line health workers, and scholars. We were united in anger to face yet another pandemic, perpetuated as well as racist and inequitable policies. We crafted the idea of organizing a Pandemic Prevention Plan, taking action to stop COVID-19, build back better to a new normal, and stop the march of future pandemics.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the fragility of the United States’ healthcare and public health systems and the unreliability of healthcare and public health infrastructure around the world. The crisis has demonstrated that everyone is vulnerable, especially those who were poor or sick already, as a result of globalization and systemic and environmental racism. Our public health systems are unprepared, our leaders are in denial, and millions of marginalized people who are excluded from access to basic human rights (food, shelter, a living wage, decent education, equitable voting systems, quality healthcare, public health systems) are especially at risk.
The COVID-19 crisis also presents us with a historic opportunity to come together to create a more equitable and just reality for all of our futures. We urgently need to learn from this pandemic, build relationships, engage with experts and frontline providers, and listen to people who have been most impacted. We are building a movement to sustainably advocate for healthcare as a human right for everyone, everywhere.
A central goal of the Right to Health movement is to build a constituency armed with clear demands and equipped with a strong argument: uncontrolled disease outbreaks—like COVID-19, or previous ones, such as AIDS, Ebola or our own ongoing opioid use in the U.S.— are both evidence of and made worse by systematic violations of basic human rights. These atrocities are preventable with policies that pragmatically protect the full spectrum of human rights.