There is a growing movement within the public health field that recognizes the need to anchor public health decision-making and action in racial justice principles and ethics. Values, principles, and ethics guide and direct us to close the gap between our aspirations and the reality of our past and present. For example, the revised 10 Essential Public Health Services, released in 2020, depicts the principle of equity at the center and emphasizes the necessity to “remove systemic and structural barriers that have resulted in health inequities,” such as “poverty, racism, gender discrimination, ableism, and other forms of oppression,” as central to the essential services. Without applying racial justice principles, public health practice will unintentionally, yet unequivocally, uphold the status quo.

Five mutually reinforcing racial justice principles are described in this section, along with examples of community action in East San Jose, California through efforts of the Santa Clara County Health Department and the East San Jose PEACE Partnership.


The image features a Venn diagram with five circles, each detailing a concept related to social equity and justice, such as understanding structural racism, repairing harm, promoting equity, building community power, and embedding accountability. Icons like hands shaking, a broken chain, gear, and roots illustrate these ideas. The diagram underscores the interconnectedness of these themes in fostering community equity and justice, presented in soft blue shades against a light backdrop.