Sacramento Declares Racism A Public Health Crisis

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Brianna Lyman News and Commentary Writer
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The Sacramento County Board of Supervisors approved a resolution Tuesday declaring racism a public health crisis in the county.

“Sacramento County is one of the nation’s most diverse communities, and as such, all its citizens should have the opportunity to live their lives free from systemic racism,” Board Chair Phil Serna said in an official statement Tuesday. “Research has demonstrated that racism adversely impacts the physical and mental health of people of color. The resolution we passed today acknowledges Sacramento County’s commitment to face this crisis head-on through fair and just governance and service delivery.”

Serna reportedly cited George Floyd’s death as one of the reasons for wanting to pass the resolution, according KCRA 3.

“The events this summer with the tragic murder of George Floyd and others really caused a lot of rightful introspection by many of us in elective office to understand how much work there is left to do to confront racism generally, but, especially as it related to public health,” Serna said, according to KCRA 3.

The resolution says the county must “work to shape an inclusive, well-informed governmental organization that is conscious of injustice and inequity through robust training and continuing education to expand understanding of how racial discrimination adversely affects individuals and communities most impacted by racism.”

The county must review all policies and practices currently in place to ensure that they do not “facilitate” or “harbor racial discrimination,” according to the resolution.

The county will also be responsible for prioritizing investments of time and money to promote “racial equity,” such as making investments into programs like the Black Child Legacy Campaign which is meant to reduce deaths of African American children, according to the resolution.

While the resolution ultimately passed, District 4 Supervisor Sue Frost reportedly disagreed and said she doesn’t view the U.S. as a racist country, KCRA 3 reported.

Sacramento isn’t the first place to declare racism a public health crisis. (Should Minorities Get Priority For A Coronavirus Vaccine? Some Think So)

Franklin County, Ohio passed a resolution in May declaring racism a public health crisis, while Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an Executive Directive in August that recognizes racism as a public health crisis. Democratic Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak also declared racism a public health crisis in August.

All officials, including the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors, cited COVID-19 as part of their decision.

The coronavirus pandemic disproportionately affects people of color, with black, Hispanic and Native American people roughly four times more likely to be hospitalized with the virus than others, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.