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A Statement of Solidarity

June 18, 2020

Dignity. It’s something no one should ever be denied. Yet over and over again, Black communities in the United States have been robbed of their dignity – and, in too many cases, their lives – by systemic racism and police brutality.

At Death with Dignity National Center, we value the inherent dignity and worth of all human beings. We work every day to realize a future in which all people have what should be a fundamental human right: the freedom to decide how they die. Our commitment to these values places us in solidarity with the Black community and those protesting against centuries of oppression, injustice, and lives cut short by violence.

Black Lives Matter.

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Below is a message from Death with Dignity Executive Director Peg Sandeen.

It is incumbent upon us, as individuals and as an organization, to contribute to achieving long-overdue systemic change. My staff and I are listening to and learning from groups leading the movement for racial justice and equity so we may take action in respectful and effective ways. We also are reckoning with our own history as an organization rooted in whiteness, and exploring what tangible steps we can take toward fulfilling our stated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Here’s where we are beginning this work:

We are developing an organizational action plan to ensure our staffing and Board membership are reflective of the demographic patterns of our diverse country.

We are deeply engaged in educating ourselves and our constituents about racial disparities in healthcare, in particular end-of-life care.

We are amplifying the voices of people of color who are leading efforts to build an equitable healthcare system that works for all.

We are lending our unequivocal support to the following groups. I hope you’ll join me in learning from and donating to their important work:

  • Black Lives Matter Global Network works to improve lives by eradicating white supremacy and building local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes.
  • NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund is a legal organization fighting for racial justice through litigation, advocacy, and public education in order to expand democracy, eliminate disparities, and achieve racial justice in a society that fulfills the promise of equality for all Americans.
  • The Movement for Black Lives is a space for Black organizations across the country working to create a shared vision and policy agenda to win rights, recognition, and resources for Black people.
  • Color of Change is the nation’s largest online racial justice organization, helping people respond effectively to injustice in the world around us and move decision-makers in corporations and government to create a more human and less hostile world for Black people in America.
  • MRG Foundation works to inspire people to work together for justice and mobilize resources for Oregon communities as they build collective power to change the world.

One statement is not adequate to address the gravity and magnitude of this moment, and the centuries of systematic oppression suffered by communities of color. We’ll be in touch throughout the coming months with more details about our action plan. We welcome your suggestions and input as our initiatives take shape.

I am dedicated to listening to and working alongside communities of color and all marginalized individuals to achieve justice and equity, for as long as it takes.

In solidarity,

Peg Sandeen, PhD, MSW
Executive Director, Death with Dignity

2 Comments.

Brad Davanta Frederick
June 22, 2020 at 12:21 pm

Hello; is this ONLY for those who have a terminal illness.?

Peter Korchnak
June 22, 2020 at 2:22 pm

Death with dignity laws require that, if you wish to voluntarily access one of them, you be 

– an adult resident of CA, CO, DC, HI, ME, NJ, OR, VT, or WA;
– mentally competent, i.e. capable of making and communicating your healthcare decisions;
– diagnosed with a terminal illness that will lead to death within six months; 
– able to self-administer and ingest the prescribed medication without assistance. 

Two physicians must determine whether all these criteria have been met. There are no exceptions to these requirements. 

You can learn more about accessing death with dignity laws on these comprehensive pages:

https://www.deathwithdignity.org/learn/access/
https://www.deathwithdignity.org/faqs/

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