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Racism Declared Public Health Crisis In Salt Lake City

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Democratic Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall announced Tuesday she signed a Salt Lake City Council resolution declaring racism a public health crisis.

“We are publicly acknowledging the existence of a grave inequity many in our community have long experienced, and are committing ourselves to creating policies and ordinances that are anti-racist,” Mendenhall said in announcing the resolution.

The resolution says “this nation and the states and municipalities within have been designed to systemically disadvantage underrepresented racial and ethnic groups thereby creating health disparities that have persisted even after the Civil Rights Movement following the abolition of slavery.”

“Salt Lake City believes we have a moral imperative to combat racism, discrimination, and inequities in all its manifestation,” the resolution continued. “Salt Lake City remains committed to the work that it will take now and into the future to dismantle our racist legacies so that all feel welcome and safe in Salt Lake City.”

The resolution says the city will look into ways to address and “dismantle racist legacies” to repair the community. (RELATED: ‘It’s Just Reprehensible’: Connecticut Representative Rejects Bill Declaring Racism A Public Health Crisis In State)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) declared racism a “serious public health threat” in April, pointing to health disparities in the light of COVID-19. The CDC said it would conduct new research on racism and public health.

The Salt Lake City Resolution made similar claims, using Utah Department of Health data to show Latino communities made up roughly 40% of the state’s coronavirus cases despite the communities making up just 14.2% of the state’s overall population.

Several other U.S. cities have declared racism a public health crisis, including Sacramento and Boston.