February 24, 2024

Our commentary comes from Oprah Winfrey, who is partnering with the Smithsonian Channel to raise awareness about inequities in our health care system. The documentary “The Color of Care” debuts May 1:

During the height of the pandemic, I read a story about a family in Detroit. This story would not let me rest; as a matter of fact, it haunted me.

It was the story of the Fowler family. Gary Fowler worked hard his entire life. Fifty-six years old, working 80 hours a week to provide for his family, because that was his greatest desire: to create a secure, beautiful life for the people he loved. He became ill, experiencing COVID symptoms, went to three different hospitals begging them for help. Each hospital sent him home.

Finally, he became so tired, so exhausted, he gave up, went home, sat in his favorite recliner, and died there.  Because hospitals, three of them, in Detroit, would not treat him.

Imagine that: if access to life-saving healthcare for somebody you love depended on the color of their skin.

So, I wondered, how many other Gary Fowlers there are in America? Research tells us there are far too many, and we need to do something about this larger pandemic that COVID has exposed – racial disparities in our healthcare system that cost lives.

We’re fighting the impact of decades of this treatment. But we can do better.

So, let’s make the choice to be better and do better.  This can be changed, and we’re the ones to change it.

Watch executive producer Oprah Winfrey’s special, “The Color of Care,” on racial health disparities, premiering May 1 at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT on The Smithsonian Channel. To watch a trailer, click on the video player below: 

Smithsonian Channel™ and Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Productions “The Color of Care” | Official Trailer by
Smithsonian Channel on

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