Sharing Common Ground


Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives (FDFI) joins with the Greater Rochester NY Black Agenda Group which, on Tuesday (April 28, 2020), in honor of Dr. David Anderson (Sankofa) on his 90th birthday, declared racism a public health crisis.

Aligning legacy and mission with the Black Agenda Group

FDFI commissioned and published this image of Douglass wearing a medical mask to underscore how symptoms of racism are affecting communities of color during the COVID-19 pandemic. Douglass understood racism as being part of our society’s “diseased imagination,” a “moral disorder” and, as the Black Agenda Group declared, a “public health emergency.” Recognizing racism as a disease and a public health emergency will allow us to better anticipate ways in which this scourge reveals itself in our communities just as it has with the COVID-19 pandemic. Black Americans should not be forced to choose the lesser of two threats; racist stereotyping if they wear a mask and viral infections if they don’t.

Amid health and financial crises, inequities become starkly and increasingly exposed. Having identified the problem, now is the time to passionately pursue cures by the right use of remedies. FDFI commits its support to the Black Agenda Group in dismantling racism.

In Freedom,

Nettie Washington Douglass

Kenneth B. Morris, Jr.

Robert J. Benz

Hank Rubin