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Originally posted June 8, 2020 (latest updates are highlighted in red)

SUMMARY: As of July 10, 2020, 100 local jurisdictions in 20 states have passed resolutions or proclamations, or issued executive orders, declaring racism as a public health crisis; statewide resolutions are pending in the Ohio, Michigan, and California state legislatures.

Here is spreadsheet listing all the cities, towns, counties, mayors, and county executives that have declared racism as a public health crisis, chronologically by date of action and grouped by state; resolutions by governing health boards and commissions also are listed.  The full descriptions in this blog posting follows the same order.

NEW! The American Public Health Association also is maintaining a list of cites, counties, and states that have declared racism as a public health crisis.

The Network for Public Health Law published an issue brief with a listing and analyses of these declarations through June 12, 2020.

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In responding to the murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020 by police officers in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the American Public Health Association declared that “racism is an ongoing public health crisis that needs our attention now”. The American Medical Association Board of Trustees issued a statement on June 7 declaring that “racism in its systemic, structural, institutional, and interpersonal forms is an urgent threat to public health, the advancement of health equity, and a barrier to excellence in the delivery of medical care” and making an organizational commitment “to actively work to dismantle racist and discriminatory policies and practices across all of health care”.

Other government and public health leaders, including New Mexico Governor Michele Lujan Grisham and the Director of the Department of Public Health for Los Angeles County, California, have made similar statements in recent days. Derek Feely, President and CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) and Ronald Wyatt, Chair of the IHI Equity Advisory Group, stated:

  • Like millions around the world, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) is outraged at the murders of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd by current and former members of law enforcement. Far from isolated events, these acts of violence are the direct and predictable results of the entrenched, structural racism that blights this country and the world. The systematic oppression and dehumanization of Black people and communities of color by White-dominated systems and institutions must end. And we all must act to end it.
  • IHI is committed to becoming an anti-racist organization. This is necessary for our mission to improve health and health care worldwide. The disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Black communities is another manifestation of the same structural racism that led to the deaths of Taylor, Arbery, and Floyd, and that contributes to inequities in health and health care every day. We in health care will abandon our calling and violate our oaths if we allow inequities to persist.
  • At IHI, we acknowledge that we will always be in a state of “becoming” anti-racist because this work requires lifelong commitment and vigilance. We have helped to perpetuate inequities by not naming them and addressing them explicitly in all of our work, and we have made missteps. This is not a project or initiative, but a cultural transformation we are seeking. We are committed to undertaking this work internally as an organization, and in our efforts to transform health care and health with partners. Frustrated and impatient with the slow pace of change, we will use our collective voice to name injustice and call others to this cause. We believe health care has an opportunity and a responsibility to name racism, make it visible with actionable data and stories, and commit to equity-advancing policies and practices.

On June 19, 2020, 36 hospitals and clinics in Chicago, Illinois issued an open letter declaring racism as a public health crisis. The health care organizations collectively pledged to:

The following are some articles that define structural, institutional, and systemic racism, and describe its impact on health:

Bailey ZD, Krieger N, Agénor M, Graves J, Linos N, Bassett MT. Structural racism and health inequities in the USA: Evidence and interventions. Lancet. 2017;389(10077):1453-1463
 
Gee GC, Ford CL. Structural racism and health inequities: Old issues, new directions.Du Bois Rev. 2011;8(1):115-132
 
Griffith DM, Mason M, Yonas M, Eng E, Jeffries V, Plihcik S, Parks B. Dismantling institutional racism: theory and action. Am J Community Psychol. 2007;39(3-4):381-392
 
Bassett MT. Public health meets the problem of the color line. Am J Public Health. 2017;107(5):666-667
 
Jee-Lyn García J, Sharif MZ. Black Lives Matter: A commentary on racism and public health. Am J Public Health. 2015;105(8):e27-30
 
Hardeman RR, Medina EM, Kozhimannil KB. Structural racism and supporting Black lives – the role of health professionals. N Engl J Med. 2016;375(22):2113-2115
 
Cobbinah SS, Lewis J. Racism & health: A public health perspective on racial discrimination. J Eval Clin Pract. 2018;24(5):995-998
 
 
Feagin J, Bennefield Z.  Systemic racism and U.S. health care. Soc Sci Med. 2014;103:7-14
 
The idea of declaring racism as a public health crisis is not new. It is also vital to contextualize and focus this work specifically on anti-Black racism and anti-Black violence that began with slavery, and persist through these ongoing acts of police officer violence against Black men and women.
 
Since its founding in 2014, the medical student-led organization White Coats for Black Lives has called on physicians, physician organizations, and medical institutions “to publicly recognize racism as a public health issue”.
 
In 2017, the Mobilizing Action Toward Community Health (MATCH) Group at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Population Health Institute convened statewide partners at an inaugural Healthiest State Agenda Setting Meeting. The participants at the convening identified six statewide health equity priorities, one of which was to “declare racism a public health emergency”.

In May 2018, the Wisconsin Public Health Association passed an organizational resolution declaring racism as a public health crisis, and called for local and state governments to issue similar declarations. The resolution, which has become the template for subsequent governmental resolutions, stated (whereas clauses omitted):

  • THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Wisconsin Public Health Association [WPHA]:
  • Asserts that racism is a public health crisis affecting our entire society
  • Conducts an assessment of internal policy and procedures to ensure racial equity is a core element of WPHA, led by the Board in collaboration with the Racial Equity Workgroup and other relevant parties, communicates results of assessment, and determines appropriate interval for reassessment
  • Works to create an equity and justice oriented organization, with the Board and Committees identifying specific activities to increase diversity and to incorporate antiracism principles across WPHA membership, leadership, staffing and contracting
  • Incorporates into the organizational workplan educational efforts to address and dismantle racism, expand members’ understanding racism, and how racism affects individual and population health and provide tools to assist members to engage actively and authentically with communities of color
  • Advocates for relevant policies that improve health in communities of color, and supports local, state, and federal initiatives that advance social justice, while also encouraging individual member advocacy to dismantle systemic racism
  • Works to build alliances and partnerships with other organizations that are confronting racism and encourages other local, state and national entities to recognize racism as a public health crisis.

Significantly, the resolution includes specific implementation steps, including:

  • conducting internal organizational assessments on racial equity, including reviewing and revising current laws, regulations, policies, and practices with a racial equity lens
  • engaging the board and leadership of the organization to incorporate anti-racist principles throughout the organization
  • increasing racial diversity in staffing and contracting
  • implementing internal education and training on how to address and dismantle racism
  • advocating for policies that would dismantle systemic racism,
  • building community alliances and partnerships with organizations that are confronting racism
  • calling on other local, state, and national entities to recognize racism as a public health crisis.

Since the enactment of that resolution, dozens of organizations in Wisconsin have endorsed the Wisconsin Public Health Association’s call to declare racism as a public health crisis. On June 4, 2020, the Wisconsin Medical Society joined this call to declare racism as a public health crisis.

WISCONSIN

On December 6, 2018, the Board of Health of Madison and Dane County, Wisconsin became the first county health board to adopt such a resolution,(Resolution 2018-30) (whereas clauses omitted):

  • NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Board of Health for Madison and Dane County, on behalf of Public Health-Madison and Dane County, agrees to sign on to the WPHA and Act on Equity Declaration that Racism is a Public Health Crisis….
  • BE IT STILL FURTHER RESOLVED that the Board of Health for Madison and Dane County, on behalf of Public Health-Madison and Dane County, agrees that we will confront racism as a public health crisis by publicly asserting that racism is a public health crisis affecting our entire society.
  • BE IT STILL FURTHER RESOLVED that the Board of Health for Madison and Dane County, on behalf of Public Health-Madison and Dane County, agrees that we will confront racism as a public health crisis by working to create an equity- and justice oriented organization, with staff, and/or other stakeholders identifying specific activities to increase diversity and to incorporate anti-racism principles within leadership, staffing, and contracting.
  • BE IT STILL FURTHER RESOLVED that the Board of Health for Madison and Dane County, on behalf of Public Health-Madison and Dane County, agrees that we will confront racism as a public health crisis by incorporating educational efforts to address and dismantle racism, expand understanding of racism, and how racism affects individual and population health and by providing tools to engage actively and authentically with communities of color.
  • BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Board of Health for Madison and Dane County, on behalf of Public Health-Madison and Dane County, agrees that we will confront racism as a public health crisis by working to build alliances and partnerships with other appropriate organizations that are confronting racism and encourage partners and/or stakeholders to recognize racism as a public health crisis.
  • BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the Board of Health for Madison and Dane County, on behalf of Public Health-Madison and Dane County, agrees that we will confront racism as a public health crisis by allocating adequate financial and human resources to accomplish all selected activities.

On April 25, 2019, the County Board of Supervisors, Milwaukee, Wisconsin became the first local government jurisdiction to make such a declaration (Resolution 19-397). The resolution stated (whereas clauses omitted):

  • BE IT RESOLVED, Milwaukee County (the County) will:
  • Assert that racism is a public health crisis affecting our entire society
  • Assess internal policy and procedures to ensure racial equity is a core element of the County, led by the County Executive and the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors (County Board), in collaboration with the Office on African American Affairs, Racial Equity Ambassador Workgroup, and other relevant parties
  • Work to create an inclusive organization identifying specific activities to increase diversity across its workforce and in leadership positions
  • Incorporate inclusion and equity into organizational practices, offer educational trainings/activities to expand employees’ understanding of how racism affects individuals, and the health of marginalized populations, and provide tools to assist members to engage actively and authentically with communities of color
  • Advocate for relevant policies that improve health in communities of color, and support local, State, and Federal initiatives that advance social justice, while encouraging individual employee advocacy
  • Encourage other local, State, and national entities to recognize racism as a public health crisis, and
  • BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the County Board hereby supports the County’s efforts to address public health disparities due to racial inequities throughout the County.

On October 15, 2019, the Common Council of Madison, Wisconsin became the second local jurisdiction in Wisconsin to adopt such a resolution (Resolution 19-00731). The Madison resolution stated (whereas clauses omitted):

  • NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Mayor and Common Council acknowledges that racism is a public health crisis and supports the following statements to advocate for equitable policies and inform our public discourse on racism in the City of Madison:
  • Assert that racism is a public health crisis affecting our entire society.
  • Conduct an assessment of internal policy and procedures to ensure racial equity is a core element of Madison-Dane County Public Health Department, led by the Board in collaboration with the Racial Equity Workgroup and other relevant parties, communicate results of assessment, and determine appropriate interval for reassessment.
  • Work to create an equity and justice oriented organization, with the Board and Committees identifying specific activities to increase diversity and to incorporate antiracism principles across leadership, staffing and contracting.
  • Incorporate into the organizational workplan educational efforts to address and dismantle racism, expand understanding of racism, and how racism affects individual and population health and provide tools to assist members to engage actively and authentically with communities of color.
  • Advocate for relevant policies that improve health in communities of color, and supports local, state, and federal initiatives that advance social justice, while also encouraging individual member advocacy to dismantle systemic racism.
  • Work to build alliances and partnerships with other organizations that are confronting racism and encourages other local, state and national entities to recognize racism as a public health crisis.

On April 17, 2020, the Board of Supervisors of Milwaukee, Wisconsin then adopted a follow-up resolution and ordinance that repeated the declaration of racism as a public health crisis and enacted a county-wide plan to address racism (Resolution-Ordinance 10-174) (whereas clauses omitted):

On June 4, 2020, the Milwaukee Board of Supervisors continued its implementation of the ordinance by creating a Board Audit Committee to monitor progress on achieving the ordinance’s objectives.

On June 23, 2020, the Common Council of the City of Cudahy also passed a resolution declaring racism as a public health crisis.

The Appleton City Health Department and City of Appleton also are reported to have endorsed the Wisconsin Public Health Association’s call to declare racism as a public health crisis.

The Board of Supervisors of Dane County is expected to vote on such a resolution on July 9, 2020.

At at press conference on June 4, 2020, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers declared that racism is a public health crisis; the Wisconsin state legislature already has completed its current session for the year.

ILLINOIS

On July 25, 2019, the Board of Commissioners of Cook County, Illinois became the first jurisdiction outside of Wisconsin to declare racism as a public health crisis (Resolution 19-4285). The resolution stated (whereas clauses omitted):

  • THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that Cook County will:  Assert that racism is a public health crisis affecting our entire society; Assess internal policy and procedures to ensure racial equity is a core element of the County; led by the Cook County Board President and the Cook County Board of Commissioners (County Board), in collaboration with The Office of Health and Social Equity and other relevant parties;
  • BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the County will work to create an inclusive organization identifying specific activities to:  (1) increase diversity across its workforce and in leadership positions; (2) incorporate inclusion and equity into organizational practices; (3) work with Human Resources to  offer educational trainings/activities to expand employees’ understanding of how racism affects individuals; and (4) work with marginalized populations to provide tools to assist employees across Cook County to engage actively and authentically  with communities of color, (5) Advocate for relevant policies that improve health in communities of color,  and (6) support local, State, and Federal initiatives that advance social justice, while encouraging individual employee, and advocate; and
  • BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the County will encourage other local, State, and national entities to recognize racism as a public health crisis.
  • BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the County Board hereby supports the efforts to address public health disparities due to racial inequities throughout Cook County.

On June 15, 2020, the City/County Board of Health of Peoria, Illinois discussed a statement that would address racism as a public health crisis. After discussion, the Board decided to continue to refine the statement for future consideration and adoption.

MISSOURI

On August 29, 2019, the City Council of Kansas City, Missouri, became the next jurisdiction to declare racism as a public health crisis (Resolution 190679). The resolution stated (whereas clauses omitted):

  • BE IT RESOLVED BY THE COUNCIL OF KANSAS CITY:
  • Section 1. That the City Council expresses its commitment and support for a comprehensive assessment of the City’s interracial policies and procedures to address public health disparities due to racial inequities throughout the region and the City of Kansas City.
  • Section 2. That the City Manager or his designee is hereby directed to develop and present to the Council a comprehensive plan that incorporates the following policies, procedures and priorities:
  • a. Assert that racism is a public health crisis affecting our entire society;
  • b. Assess internal policies and procedures that ensure racial equity is a core element of Kansas City, led by the City Manager, Mayor and Council, in collaboration with the Kansas City Health Department and other relevant parties;
  • c.  Continue to create an inclusive organization identifying specific activities to increase diversity across its workforce and in leadership positions;
  • d.  Incorporate inclusion and equity into organizational practice, increase educational trainings/activities to expand employees’ understanding of how racism affects individuals, the health of marginalized populations, and provide tools to assist members to engage actively and authentically with communities of color;
  • e. Advocate for relevant policies that improve health and mental health in communities of color, and support local, state and federal initiatives that advance racial equity while also encouraging individual employee advocacy and self-examination; and
  • f. Encourage other local, state, and national entities to recognize racism as a public health crisis.

On June 16, 2020 Jackson County Executive Frank White, Jr. issued an executive order (Executive Order 20-09) declaring racism as a public health crisis, and making June 19, Juneteenth, a floating holiday for county employees.

PENNSYLVANIA

On December 17, 2019, the City Council of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania became the next jurisdiction, now across four states, to make such a declaration (Resolution 2019-2214) (whereas clauses omitted):

  • NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that Mayor and City Council acknowledge that racism and its intergenerational effects are a public health crisis in Pittsburgh and the United States and supports the following statements to advocate for equitable policies and inform our public discourse on racism in the City of Pittsburgh as Pittsburgh strives to be an “All-In” City.
  • Assert that racism is a public health crisis affecting our entire society.
  • Continue creating internal policy and procedures to ensure racial equity is a core element of the City of Pittsburgh and in collaboration with other relevant parties, communicate results of assessments, and determine appropriate intervals for reassessment.
  • Continue identifying specific activities to increase diversity and to incorporate antiracism principles across leadership, staffing and contracting.
  • Incorporate into organizational work plans educational efforts to address and dismantle racism, expand the understanding of racism, and how racism affects individual and population health, and provide tools to assist members of local government to engage actively and authentically with communities of color.
  • Advocate for relevant policies that improve health in communities of color, including the “Black Mamas Matter” policy agenda, and supports local, state, and federal initiatives that advance social justice, while also encouraging individual advocacy to dismantle systemic racism.
  • Work to build alliances and partnerships with other governmental agencies and organizations that are confronting racism and those supporting and contributing to African American arts and culture, and encourages other local, state and national entities to recognize racism as a public health threat.

On May 5, 2020, the County Council of Allegheny, Pennsylvania made a similar declaration, becoming the second local jurisdiction in Pennsylvania to do so (Resolution 11490-20) (whereas clauses omitted):

  • Allegheny County Council hereby acknowledges that racism and its intergenerational effects are a public health crisis in Allegheny County and the United States, and supports the following statements to advocate for equitable policies and inform our public discourse on racism within the County:
  • Racism is a public health crisis affecting our entire society
  • It is incumbent upon the County to continue creating internal policy and procedures to ensure racial equity is a core element of Allegheny County, and in collaboration with other relevant parties, to communicate results of assessments, and determine appropriate intervals for reassessment.
  • It should be the policy of Allegheny County to continue identifying specific activities to increase diversity and to incorporate antiracism principles across leadership, staffing and contracting.
  • It should be the policy of Allegheny County to incorporate into organizational work plans educational efforts to address and dismantle racism, expand the understanding of racism, and how racism affects individual and population health, and provide tools to assist members of local government to engage actively and authentically with communities of color.
  • The County should advocate for relevant policies that improve health in communities of color, including the “Black Mamas Matter” policy agenda, and should supports local, state, and federal initiatives that advance social justice, while also encouraging individual advocacy to dismantle systemic racism.
  • The County should expand its efforts to build alliances and partnerships with other governmental agencies and organizations that are confronting racism and those supporting and contributing to African American arts and culture, and should encourage other local, state and national entities to recognize racism as a public health threat.

OHIO

With the spread of COVID-19, and then the emergence data about the racial and ethnic disparities related to COVID-19, the Board of Health of Franklin County, Ohio enacted a resolution similar to the Wisconsin resolutions on May 12, 2020 (whereas clauses omitted):

  • THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that Franklin County Public Health [FCPH] will:
  • Assert that racism is a public health crisis affecting our entire community;
  • Conduct an assessment of internal policy and procedures to ensure racial equity is a core element of FCPH, supported by the [Board of Health] BOH in collaboration with Senior Staff and the Health Equity Committee;
  • Establish a glossary of terms and definitions concerning racism and health equity;
  • Work to create an equity and justice-oriented organization, with the BOH and Senior Staff identifying specific activities to embrace diversity and to incorporate antiracism principles across FCPH, leadership, staffing and contracting;
  • Incorporate into the organizational structure a plan for educational efforts to understand, address and dismantle racism, in order to undo how racism affects individual and population health and provide tools to assist FCPH staff, contractors, and its jurisdictions on how to engage actively and authentically with communities of color;
  • Advocate for relevant policies that improve health in communities of color, and supports local, state, regional, and federal initiatives that advance efforts to dismantle systemic racism;
  • Work to build alliances and partnerships with other organizations that are confronting racism and encourages other local, state, regional and national entities to recognize racism as a public health crisis;
  • Promote community engagement, actively engaging citizens on issues of racism, and providing tools to engage actively and authentically with communities of color;
  • Commit to review all portions of codified ordinances through a racial equity lens,
  • Commit to conduct all human resources, vendor selection and grant management activities with a racial equity lens including reviewing all internal policies and practices such as hiring, promotions, leadership appointments and funding;
  • Promote racially equitable economic and workforce development practices;
  • To always promote and support all policies that prioritize the health of all people, especially people of color by mitigating exposure to adverse childhood experiences, trauma in childhood and ensuring implementation of Health and Equity in All Policies;
  • Train all BOH members, staff, funders and grantees on workplace biases and how to mitigate them;
  • Partner and build alliances with local organizations that have a legacy and track record of confronting racism;
  • Encourage community partners and stakeholders in the education, employment, housing, criminal justice and safety arenas to recognize racism as a public health crisis and to implement portions or all of this declaration;
  • Identify clear goals and objectives, including specific benchmarks, to assess progress and capitalize on opportunities to further advance racial equity; and
  • Establish alliances and secure adequate resources to successfully accomplish the above activities.

A week later, on May 19, 2020, the Board of Commissioners of Franklin County, Ohio declared racism a pubic health crisis (Resolution No. 0341-20)(whereas clauses omitted):

  • BE IT RESOLVED BY THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS, FRANKLIN COUNTY, OHIO:
  • Assert that racism is a public health crisis affecting our entire county.
  • Work to progress as an equity and justice-oriented organization, with the Board of Commissioners and its staff leadership continuing to identify specific activities to further enhance diversity and to ensure antiracism principles across Board of Commissioners leadership, staffing and contracting.
  • Promote equity through all policies approved by the Board of Commissioners and enhance educational efforts aimed at understanding, addressing and dismantling racism and how it affects the delivery of human and social services, economic development and public safety.
  • Continue to advocate locally and through the National Association of Counties for relevant policies that improve health in communities of color, and supports local, state, regional, and federal initiatives that advance efforts to dismantle systemic racism.
  • Further work to solidify alliances and partnerships with other organizations that are confronting racism and encourage other local, state, regional and national entities to recognize racism as a public health crisis.
  • Support community efforts to amplify issues of racism and engage actively and authentically with communities of color wherever they live.
  • To always promote and support policies that prioritize the health of all people, especially people of color by mitigating exposure to adverse childhood experiences.
  • Continue on-going racial equity training with the goal of reaching all BOC agency leadership and staff.
  • Encourage racial equity training among all community partners, grantees, vendors and contractors.
  • Identify clear goals and objectives, including periodic reports to the Board of Commissioners, to assess progress and capitalize on opportunities to further advance racial equity.
  • Further resolved, that the Board of Commissioners supports all additional efforts in Franklin County the State of Ohio, and nationwide to address racism and public health disparities due to racial inequities; and, be it
  • Further resolved, that the Franklin County Board of Commissioners call upon the Governor, the Speaker of the Ohio House, and the Ohio Senate President to join with us to declare racism as a public health crisis and to enact equity in all policies of the state of Ohio.

After the murder of George Floyd, the pace of the number of resolutions introduced to make declarations of racism as a public health crisis has dramatically accelerated, including resolutions introduced at the Ohio State Senate and House (S.C.R. 14 and H.C.R. 21) (whereas clauses omitted):

  • RESOLVED, That we, the members of the 133rd General Assembly of the State of Ohio, declare racism to be a public health crisis affecting our entire state; and be it further
  • RESOLVED, That we, the members of the 133rd General Assembly of the State of Ohio, ask the Governor to establish a working group to promote racial equity throughout this state; and be it further
  • RESOLVED, That we, the members of the 133rd General Assembly of the State of Ohio, are committed to reviewing all portions of the Revised Code with a racial equity lens; and be it further
  • RESOLVED, That we, the members of the 133rd General Assembly of the State of Ohio, are committed to conducting all human resource, vendor selection, and grant management activities with a racial equity lens, including reviewing all internal policies and practices such as hiring, promotion, leadership appointments, and funding…

On June 9, the Ohio Senate Health, Human Services and Medicaid Committee held a hearing (scroll to June 9 hearing materials) on the Senate resolution, with dozens of proponents testifying in support of the resolution and no one testifying in opposition. There are no hearings scheduled yet on the House resolution.

On June 1, 2020, the City Council of Columbus, Ohio enacted such a a resolution (Resolution 0095X-2020) (whereas clauses omitted):

  • BE IT RESOLVED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF COLUMBUS:
  • That this Council does hereby declare racism as a public health crisis in the City of Columbus and recommits our full attention to improving the quality of life and health of our minority residents. Columbus is committed to honestly and directly addressing minority health inequities, including a systematic, data-driven focus on poverty, economic mobility, and other factors that impact the social determinants of health. Minorities are impacted more greatly by challenges and inequities in many areas, including but not limited to Crime, Social Capital, Education, Transportation, Employment, Food Access, Health Behaviors, Socioeconomic Status, Environmental Exposure, Access to Health Services, Housing, and Public Safety.

On June 3, 2020 the City Council of Cleveland, Ohio passed a resolution declaring racism as a public health crisis and establish a city working group to promote racial equity (Res. No. 296-2020) (other whereas clauses omitted):

  • BE IT RESOLVED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF CLEVELAND:
  • That this Council declares racism to be a public health crisis and will establish a working group to promote racial equity in the City of Cleveland.
  • Section 2. That the Clerk of Council is directed to transmit copies of this resolution to the NAACP Cleveland Branch, Urban League of Greater Cleveland, YWCA of Greater Cleveland, First Year Cleveland, Birthing Beautiful Communities, and United Way of Greater Cleveland.
  • Section 3. That this resolution is hereby declared to be an emergency measure and, provided it receives the affirmative vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to Council, it shall take effect and be in force immediately upon its adoption and approval by the Mayor; otherwise it shall take effect and be in force from and after the earliest period allowed by law.

On June 8, 2020, the City Council of Akron, Ohio passed a similar resolution declaring racism as a public health crisis and establishing a city Special Taskforce to develop an equity and social justice strategic plan:

  • NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Council of the city of Akron:
  • Section 1. That the Mayor and City Council declare racism as a public health crisis, and support equitable policies and to inform our public discourse on racism in the City of Akron.
  • Section 2. That the City Council urges the Mayor to create a Special Taskforce to be co-chaired by a designee of the Mayor and a designee of the Commissioner of Summit County Public Health and to develop a five-year Equity and Social Justice Strategic Plan to be presented to the Mayor, Akron City Council and Summit County Board of Health by June 30, 2021.
  • Section 3. The Clerk of Council is directed to transmit copies of this resolution to the Summit County Executive, the NAACP Akron Branch, the Akron Urban League, Summit County Public Health, Summit County Council, Community Action Akron Summit, the United Way of Summit County, Akron Public Schools, Cleveland Clinic Akron General, Summa Health, Akron Children’s Hospital, and the City’s representatives serving in the legislatures of the state of Ohio and the United States.
  • Section 4. That this resolution is hereby declared to be an emergency measure necessary for the immediate preservation of public peace, health, safety, and welfare for the reason that proper attention must be brought to currently-existing disparities in public health as a result of racism, to establish a Taskforce to promote racial equity and social justice in the City, and the crucial need to promote equitable policies, and provided this resolution receives the affirmative vote of two-thirds of the members elected or appointed to the Council, it shall take effect and be in force immediately upon its passage and approval by the Mayor; otherwise, it shall take effect and be in force at the earliest time allowed by law.

On June 15, 2020 the City Council of Canton, Ohio passed a resolution declaring racism as a public health crisis (Informal Resolution 26).

On June 16, the County Council of Summit County, Ohio also passed a resolution declaring racism as a public health crisis modeled after the City of Akron resolution (Resolution 2020-174). The resolution states (whereas clauses omitted):

  • NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Council of the County of Summit, State of Ohio, that:
  • Section 1. That this Council declares racism to be a public health crisis and will establish a Special Review Committee to determine and make recommendations on the best action steps this Council can take in promoting racial equity in the County of Summit.
  • Section 2. That this Special Review Committee…shall report its findings and recommendations to Council and the Executive no later than December 31, 2020 so that this Council can take meaningful action steps towards enacting real change and promoting racial equity in the County of Summit.
  • Section 3. That the Clerk of Council is directed to transmit copies of this resolution to the NAACP Akron Branch, the Akron Urban League, Summit County Public Health, Community Action Akron Summit, City of Akron Office of Health Equity, United Way of Summit County and the Greater Akron Chamber of Commerce.
  • Section 4. This Resolution is hereby declared an emergency in the interest of the health, safety and welfare of the residents and employees of the County of Summit and for further purpose of immediately declaring racism as a public health crisis and establishing a Special Review Committee to determine how best to promote racial equity in the County of Summit.

On the same day, the Village Council of Yellow Springs, Ohio passed a similar resolution declaring racism as a public health crisis (Resolution 2020-22). The resolution states (whereas clauses omitted):

  • Now, Therefore, Be It Resolved That:
  • Section 1. Council for the Village of Yellow Springs affirms its belief that the above-noted disparities are the result of intentional policies and constructs and are, therefore, able to be changed.
  • Section 2. Council for the Village of Yellow Springs reiterates its commitment to the Guidelines for Village Policing, developed in collaboration with The 365 Project and other community members and which prioritize anti-racism, to prioritizing polices that provide affordability for all residents, and to our Village Values that highlight being a welcoming community of opportunity for all persons regardless of race.
  • Section 3. Council for the Village of Yellow Springs will continue to pursue real reform to dismantle racism by prioritizing more targeted and broader policy changes, including decriminalization of marijuana, better enforcement practices for minor traffic/vehicle violations, further restrictions on use of force, and establishing laws that address poverty such as eviction protections as well as community conversations and a citizen review board that deepen understanding, promote accountability and inform the development and implementation of meaningful anti-racism action.
  • Section 4. Council for the Village of Yellow Springs will move forward with its Justice System Advisory Committee, which will bring together community and Village team members to identify, develop and help implement impactful policy initiatives, including funding priorities and practices best fitting community needs, that address systemic racism in a transparent and open forum.

On the next day, June 16, the Board of County Commissioners of Montgomery County, Ohio passed a similar resolution (Resolution 20-0759). The resolution states (whereas clauses omitted):

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED BY THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF MONTGOMERY COUNTY, OHIO THAT THE FOLLOWING COMMITMENTS ARE HEREBY ADOPTED:

  • 1. Assert that racism is a public health crisis affecting our entire country.
  • 2. Continue and renew our focus on social justice and equity.
  • 3. Progress as an equity and justice-oriented organization with the Board of Commissioners and its leadership team continuing to identify specific activities to further enhance diversity and to ensure anti-racism principles across Board of Commissioners’ leadership, staffing, training and contracting
  • 4. Promote equity and health equity through all policies approved by the Board of Commissioners and enhance educational efforts aimed at addressing and dismantling racism, and understanding how it affects the delivery of human and social services, job training and employment access, and economic development through:
  • 4a. Development of a new stand-alone “Career and Innovation Center” at the Westown Shopping Center on West Third Street in Dayton.
  • 4b. Commit existing and additional resources to the Montgomery County “Micro-Enterprise” Grant Program targeted to small, minority, women and veteran-owned businesses.
  • 4c. Commit targeted Economic Development resources to minority and disadvantaged neighborhoods in Montgomery County.
  • 4d. Commit to address safe, affordable housing opportunities in the Black community.
  • 4e. Continue to address food insecurity, nutrition and food access.
  • 4f. Commit existing and additional resources to reducing infant mortality and increasing maternal vitality in the Black community.
  • 4g. Continue to, within applicable state law, provide greater access to local and diverse contracting, wherever possible.
  • 5. Continue to advocate locally through the County Commissioners Association of Ohio (CCAO) and the National Association of Counties (NACo) for relevant policies that improve health and wellbeing in racial and ethnic minority communities; and supports local, state, regional and federal initiatives that advance efforts to dismantle systemic racism.
  • 6. Further work to solidify alliances and partnerships with other organizations that are confronting racism and encourage other local, state, regional and national entities to recognize racism as a public health crisis.
  • 7. Support community efforts to amplify issues of racism and engage actively and authentically with racial and ethnic minority groups wherever they live in the county.
  • 8. To always promote and support policies that prioritize the health and wellbeing of all people, especially racial and ethnic minorities, by mitigating exposure to adverse childhood experiences.
  • 8a. Continue to expand the Male Leadership Academy, which was established as a pilot program in 2019.
  • 8b. Establish a Female Leadership Academy to serve young women in the community.
  • 9. Continue already-existing racial equity and implicit bias training, with the goal of reaching all Board of Commissioners staff.
  • 10. Encourage racial equity training among all community partners, grantees, vendors and contractors.
  • 11. Receive regular reports and updates from the County Administrator and staff (as directed) to the Board of Commissioners on the progress of the commitments made in this Resolution to facilitate ongoing community engagement and transparency, and to identify additional opportunities to further advance racial equity.
  • BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Board of Commissioners supports all efforts in Montgomery County, the state of Ohio, and nationwide to address racism and public health disparities due to racial inequities.
  • BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Montgomery County Board of County Commissioners call upon the Governor, the Speaker of the Ohio House, and the Ohio Senate President to join with us to declare racism as a public health crisis and to enact equity in all policies of the state of Ohio…

The following day, on June 17, the City Commission of Dayton, Ohio followed the declaration by Montgomery County and passed its own resolution declaring racism as a public health crisis.

That same day, on June 17, the Board of Commissioners of Lorain County, Ohio unanimously passed a resolution declaring racism as a public health crisis (Agenda Item 11).

At a special meeting on June 19, 2020, the City Council of Youngstown, Ohio passed a resolution declaring racism as a public health crisis.

On June 22, 2020, City Council of Lima, Ohio passed a resolution to declare racism as a public health crisis (Resolution 010-20) (pages 48-50). The resolution states:

  • BE IT RESOLVED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF LIMA, OHIO, WITH AT LEAST A MAJORITY OF THE MEMBERS ELECTED THERETO CONCURRING:
  • Section 1. That the Lima City Council declares racism to be a public health crisis in the City of Lima and Allen County that affects all members of our community and deserves action from all levels of government and civil society.
  • Section 2. That the Lima City Council commits to frank and open discussions of race and the impact of decisions we make upon racial inequities in our community, that these discussions will be integrated into our daily work together, and that we will address issues fo race and racial disparities in a full and forthright manner.
  • Section 3. That the Clerk of the Council is hereby authorized and directed upon adoption of this resolution to provide a copy to the NAACP Lima Branch, the Lima Area Black Ministerial Alliance, Allen County Public Health, Western Ohio Community Action Partnership (WOCAP), Lina African American Chamber of Commerce, the United Way of Allen County, Crime Victim Services, Lima City Schools, Lima Memorial Health System, Mercy Health St. Rita’s Medical Center, Health Partners of Western Ohio, and the City’s representatives serving in the legislatures of the State of Ohio in the United States, and the local news media…

That same day, June 22, 2020, the County Council of Cuyahoga County, Ohio and the City Council of Athens, Ohio, also passed resolutions declaring racism as a public health crisis.

On June 24, 2020, the City Council of Warren, Ohio became the latest local jurisdiction in the state to pass resolution declaring racism as a public health crisis.

The City Council of Mansfield, Ohio also is considering a resolution declaring racism as a public health crisis (Bill 20-123); after discussion at the City Council meeting on June 16, a vote on the resolution will be postponed until July 21.

A county commissioner in Hamilton County, Ohio plans on introducing a similar resolution later in June.

MASSACHUSETTS

On June 3, 2020, the Mayor of Sommerville, Massachusetts announced an police reform initiative that included a declaration of racism as a public health crisis; Massachusetts becomes the sixth state where a local government has made such a declaration:

  • Declaration of a local state of emergency officially deeming systemic racism a threat to public health and safety.
  • Establishment of an independent, civilian oversight structure of the Somerville Police Department with membership representative of the community’s diversity.
  • Launch of immediate efforts to eliminate the inherent conflicts of interest arising from police officers internally investigating allegations of misconduct by fellow officers: City has filed a petition to remove the internal investigation oversight position from Somerville Police Superior Officers Association (one of two police unions).
  • A call for the creation of an independent special prosecutor at the state level to review and where appropriate to prosecute cases of potentially criminal police misconduct rather than leaving this authority with county district attorneys.
  • Submission of a resolution to the City Council reiterating the critical need to implement body-worn cameras in the Police Department, an initiative the City has been pursuing with police union leadership since 2015.
  • Instituting asset forfeiture funding policies that limit the use of these monies to two purposes: a) to provide prevention and substance use recovery, mental and behavioral health, and other services and resources — primarily through the City’s Community Outreach, Health and Recovery (COHR) Office — to support residents and divert them from the criminal justice system; and
  • b) implicit bias, de-escalation, crisis intervention, health and mental wellness, and other similar training for Somerville police officers.
  • A call for statewide action to address the gaping deficiencies of the Civil Service system combined with local civilian review of whether the Somerville Police Department (SPD) should pursue legislative action to depart from the Civil Service system in order to ease the City’s ability to hire and promote officers who reflect the community’s values and diversity and who have the skills necessary for policing in the 21st century.
  • A commitment to further demilitarization and an end to Somerville’s participation in federal military weaponry distribution to local police departments, which the Somerville Police Department already significantly curtailed in recent years.
  • A commitment to diligently and persistently pursue further reforms.

On June 9, 2020, the City Council of Medford, Massachusetts passed a resolution declaring systemic racism as a public health emergency (Resolution 20-405). The resolution states:

  • Be it Resolved by the Medford City Council that the City of Medford declares systemic racism to be a public health emergency that demands immediate action from the City and its residents.
  • Bet it Further Resolved that the Medford City Council that we invite the Mayor of Medford and the Medford School Committee to submit a joint resolution declaring systemic racism as a public health emergency.

On June 10, the Cambridge City Council also declared racism as a public health issue.

On June 12, 2020, Mayor Martin Walsh of Boston, Massachusetts issued an executive order declaring racism as a public health crisis:

On June 15, 2020, Mayor Carlo DeMaria of Everett, Massachusetts declared racism as a public health crisis and committed to:

  1. Review police use of force policies;
  2. Engage communities by including a diverse range of input, experiences, and stories;
  3. Report review findings to the community and seek feedback; and
  4. Reform police use of force policies.

The City Council of Worcester passed a resolution declaring racism as a public health crisis on June 16, 2020 (Agenda Item 13a). The resolution states:

RESOLVED, That the City Council of the City of Worcester does hereby declare that racism is a public health emergency and worthy of treatment, assessment and financial investment in order to eradicate negative health impacts. Further, that the City Council of the City of Worcester implore the City Manager concurrently do the same.

That same day, June 16, 2020, the City Council of Chicopee, Massachusetts also unanimously passed a resolution declaring racism as a public health crisis.

And on June 16, 2020, the Mayor of Springfield, Massachusetts declared racism to be a public health crisis. A member of the City Council of Springfield intends to introduce such a resolution later in June.

On June 17, 2020 Holyoke, Massachusetts Mayor Alex Morse issued an executive order declaring racism as a public health crisis. The executive order states (whereas clauses omitted):

  • NOW, THEREFORE, I, Alex B. Morse, by virtue of the power vested in me as Mayor of Holyoke, do hereby order and direct as follows:
  • I, Alex B. Morse, Mayor of Holyoke, hereby declare that Racism and Police Violence are matters of Public Health that constitute a Public Health Emergency.
  • In recognition of this fact, I am taking the following actions as Mayor, and request that the City Council and all city agencies direct the necessary resources to dismantle Systemic Racism within our city through the development of policies, programs, and outreach, including but not limited to;
  • A. The creation of a Racial Equity Public Health Professional position within the Holyoke Board of Health with the directive of collecting and reviewing data on the disparity of public health outcomes for people of color, and developing public health plans with community partners to address those challenges.
  • B. The establishment of a Citizen Police Advisory Committee to the Mayor that shall consist of 11 members from the City of Holyoke, and who will be empowered and entrusted to advise the Mayor on matters of racial justice within policing. The advisory board, through their self-elected Chair, will have authority to request information from the Holyoke Police Department and all departments within City Hall to inform them of their recommendations to the Mayor. These recommendations will lay the groundwork for future directives for the combatting of systemic racism within the city.
  • C. The recognition of June 19th as “Juneteenth Independence Day,” as a paid day off for City employees in Holyoke, with an official recommendation to the Holyoke City Council to codify the day as an annual holiday.
  • D. Support through advocacy and funding; studies that explore the effectiveness of interventions that may decrease reliance on law enforcement, including decriminalization, increased investment in social determinants of health, and community-based alternatives that promote public safety, such as violence intervention and restorative justice.
  • E. Advocacy at the state and federal level for policies and funding opportunities that directly combat systemic racism; such as the elimination of legislative provisions that shield law enforcement officers from investigation and accountability, otherwise known as qualified immunity.
  • I hereby order every City cabinet, department, agency, and office to take all necessary steps to implement this Executive Order, including through the allocation of funding and other resources in a manner consistent with applicable law.

CALIFORNIA

On June 8, 2020 the City Council of Goleta in Santa Barbara County unanimously passed a resolution condemning police brutality and declaring racism as a public health emergency (Resolution 20-222). The resolution states (whereas clauses omitted):

  • NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF GOLETA, AS FOLLOWS:
  • SECTION 1. The City Council is committed to making Goleta a welcoming, inclusive, and safe community for everyone. While we promote free thought and speech, we condemn racism and police brutality, hate speech, bigotry, violence and prejudice.
  • SECTION 2. The City Council is committed to standing in solidarity with the people of Goleta and the Black Lives Matter movement and is dedicated to creating a community where all people can safely, freely and fully engage in our democracy without the fear of those that have sworn to protect them.
  • SECTION 3. The City Council declares the issue of racism to be a public health emergency.

On June 9, 2020, the City Council of Santa Barbara passed a similar resolution declaring racism as a public health crisis (Resolution 520.04).

On June 9, the Board of Supervisors of San Bernardino County directed the County Chief Exective Officer to prepare a resolution declaring racism as a “public health crisis that results in societal concerns and may result in measurable detriments to persons and communities of color in the delivery of and access to wellness, economic development and opportunity, public safety, housing, and education” (File 2354). The Board also directed the County CEO to “add language to the Federal and State Legislative Platforms stating that the County supports the promotion of equity and social justice through targeted investments in underserved communities” and to “establish a Countywide Vision Equity Element Group comprised of community members and experts in healthcare, education, economic development, law and justice, and other fields to identify needs, define goals, and set and reach benchmarks toward achievement of those goals”.

On June 23, 2020, Board of Supervisors passed the resolution declaring racism as a public health crisis.

On June 16, the City Council of San Luis Obispo unanimously passed a similar resolution declaring racism as a public health crisis. The resolution states (whereas clauses omitted):

  • NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Council of the City of San Luis Obispo as follows:
  • SECTION 1. The City Council hereby affirms that racism is a public health crisis.
  • SECTION 2. The City Council is committed to making San Luis Obispo a welcoming, inclusive, and Safe community for everyone. While we promote free thought and speech, we condemn racism and brutality, hate speech, bigotry, violence, and prejudice in any form.
  • SECTION 3. The City Council is committed to standing in solidarity with the people of San Luis Obispo and the Black Lives Matter movement and is dedicated to creating a community where all people can safely, freely, and fully engage in our democracy.
  • SECTION 4. The City Council requests that Public Health Officials declare systemic racism and its public health manifestations to be a public health emergency.

On June 23, 2020, the Board of Supervisors of Santa Clara County, California, also passed a resolution declaring racism as a public health crisis.

On June 25, 2020 State Senator Richard Pan introduced Senate Concurrent Resolution 92, declaring racism as a public health crisis. California becomes to third state legislature to consider such a statewide resolution. No hearings on the resolution have yet been scheduled.

MARYLAND

On May 11, 2020, members of the City Council of Baltimore, Maryland introduced a resolution declaring racism as a public health crisis (Resolution 20-0218R); the resolution has been referred to various city departments and the mayor for their input prior to a vote.

In June 2017, the County Council of Anne Arundel County, Maryland had passed a resolution condemning racism and white supremacy (Resolution 22-17) and in September 2017, the Anne Arundel County Executive issued an executive order denouncing racism (Executive Order 23). In November 2019, the new County Health Officer and County Executive declared racism as a public health crisis, which resulted in the creation of an Office of Health Equity and Racial Justice. On May 30, 2020, the Anne Arundel County Health Officer repeated that declaration in a statement in response to the murder of George Floyd and other racist incidents.

On June 16, 2020, the County Council of Montgomery County, Maryland unanimously passed a resolution declaring racism as a public health crisis. Maryland becomes the eighth state where local jurisdictions have made such declarations. The resolution states (whereas clauses omitted):

The County Council for Montgomery County, Maryland approves the following actions:

  1. The Council asserts that racism is a public health crisis affecting our entire County and commits to understanding how racism has impacted past work and creating new policies that lessen that impact.
  2. The Council commits to becoming an equity and justice-oriented organization, with the Council and its staff leadership continuing to identify activities to further enhance racial equity and social justice and to ensure the application of anti-racism principles across Council leadership, staffing and contracting.
  3. The Council commits to promoting racial equity and social justice through all policies approved by the Council and educating and training Council staff on how racism and other systems of oppression can affect health care, the delivery of human and social services, economic development and public safety.
  4. The Council will continue to advocate locally and nationally for relevant policies that improve health in communities of color, and supports local, state, regional, and federal initiatives that advance efforts to dismantle systemic racism.
  5. The Council will further work to solidify alliances and partnerships with other organizations that are confronting racism and encourage other local, state, regional and national entities to recognize racism as a public health crisis.
  6. The Council commits to collaborating with local communities to search for more ways to counter systemic injustices by supporting community efforts to amplify issues of racism and engage actively and authentically with communities of color throughout the County.
  7. The Council will promote and support policies that prioritize the health of all people, especially people of color by mitigating exposure to adverse childhood experiences.
  8. The Council will support on-going racial equity and social justice training with the goal of reaching all Legislative Branch agency leadership and staff.
  9. The Council will encourage racial equity and social justice training among all community partners, grantees, vendors and contractors.
  10. The Council will identify clear goals and objectives, including periodic reports to the public, to assess progress and capitalize on opportunities to further advance racial equity and social justice in decision-making.
  11. The Council’s strategic actions to combat racism and social injustice will be consistent with and guided by the Racial Equity and Social Justice Law.
  12. The Council supports all additional efforts in Montgomery County, the State of Maryland, and nationwide to address racism and public health disparities due to racial and social inequities.
  13. The County Council calls upon the Governor, the Speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates, and the Maryland Senate President to join with us to declare racism as a public health crisis and to advance racial equity and social justice in all policies of the State of Maryland.

MICHIGAN

On June 1, 2020, the City Council of Flint, Michigan became the first local jurisdiction in the state to declare racism as a public health crisis (Resolution 200233)(pages 43-46). The resolution states (whereas clauses omitted):

  • IT IS RESOLVED that the Mayor and Flint City Council do all things necessary and declare racism a public health crisis affecting Flint, Michigan, and the United States of America and the world.
  • IT IS RESOLVED that the Mayor and Flint City Council do all things necessary [to] work to progress antiracism principles across the City of Flint, its leadership, staffing, contracting, public servants and its community.
  • IT IS FURTHER RESOLVED that the Mayor and Flint City Council do all things necessary [to[ promote equity through all policies approved by the Flint City Council and enhance educational efforts aimed at understanding, addressing and dismantling racism and how it affects the delivery of human and social services, economic development and public safety.
  • IT IS FURTHER RESOLVED that the Mayor and Flint City Council do all things necessary [to] continue to advocate locally and throughout the City, County, the State of Michigan and the Country for relevant policies that improve health in communities of color, and supports local, state, regional, and federal initiatives that advance efforts to dismantle systemic racism.
  • IT IS FURTHER RESOLVED that the Mayor and Flint City Council do all things necessary to further work to solidify alliances and partnerships with other organizations that are confronting racism and encourage other local, state, regional and national entities to recognize racism as a public health crisis and to support community efforts to amplify issues of racism and engage actively and authentically with communities of color wherever they live.
  • IT IS FURTHER RESOLVED that the Mayor and Flint City Council do all things necessary to promote and support policies that prioritize the health of all people, especially people of color by mitigating exposure to adverse childhood experiences.
  • IT IS FURTHER RESOLVED that the Mayor and Flint City Council do all things necessary and implement racial equity training with the goal of reaching all and encourage racial equity training among all community partners, grantees, vendors and contractors.
  • IT IS FURTHER RESOLVED that the Mayor and Flint City Council do all things necessary [to] identify clear goals and objectives, to assess progress and capitalize on opportunities to further advance racial equity; and
  • IT IS FURTHER RESOLVED that the Mayor and Flint City Council do all things necessary to support all additional efforts in the City of Flint, Genesse County, the State of Michigan, and nationwide to address racism and public health disparities due to racial inequities, and,
  • IT IS FURTHER RESOLVED that the Mayor and Flint City Council do all things necessary to call upon the Governor, the Speaker of the Michigan House, and the Michigan Senate President to join with us to declare racism as a public health crisis and to enact equity in all policies of the state of Michigan.

On June 2, 2020 City Council of Ypsilanti, Michigan unanimously adopted a resolution declaring racism as a public health crisis (Resolution No. 2020-115A). The resolution states (whereas clauses omitted):

  • BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF YPSILANTI:
  • 1. Assert that racism is a public health crisis affecting our entire country.
  • 2. Work to progress as an equity and justice-oriented organization, with the City Council and its staff leadership continuing to identify specific activities to further enhance diversity and to ensure antiracism principles across City Council leadership, staffing and contracting.
  • 3. Promote equity through all policies approved by the City Council and enhance educational efforts aimed at understanding, addressing and dismantling racism and how it affects the delivery of human and social services, economic development and public safety.
  • 4. Continue to advocate locally for relevant policies that improve health in communities of color, and supports local, state, regional, and federal initiatives that advance efforts to dismantle systemic racism.
  • 5. Further work to solidify alliances and partnerships with other organizations that are confronting racism and encourage other local, state, regional and national entities to recognize racism as a public health crisis.
  • 6. Support community efforts to amplify issues of racism and engage actively and authentically with communities of color wherever they live.
  • 7. To always promote and support policies that prioritize the health of all people, especially people of color by mitigating exposure to adverse childhood experiences.
  • 8. Continue on-going racial equity training with the goal of reaching all City of Ypsilanti leadership and staff.
  • 9. Encourage racial equity training among all community partners, grantees, vendors and contractors.
  • 10. Identify clear goals and objectives, including periodic reports to the City Council, to assess progress and capitalize on opportunities to further advance racial equity; and
  • Be it Further resolved, that City Council supports all additional efforts in the City of Ypsilanti, State of Michigan, and nationwide to address racism and public health disparities due to racial inequities; and
  • Be it Further resolved, that the City Council of the City of Ypsilanti declares there will be zero tolerance for police brutality by the City of Ypsilanti Police Department; and
  • Be it Further resolved, that the City Council of the City of Ypsilanti call upon the Governor, the Speaker of the Michigan House, and the Michigan Senate Majority Leader to join with us to declare racism as a public health crisis and to enact equity in all policies of the State of Michigan.

On June 8, 2020, the City Council of Port Huron, Michigan unanimously passed a resolution declaring racism as a public health crisis (Resolution 20–054). The resolution states (whereas clauses omitted):

  • NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Port Huron City Council the following:
  1. Assert that Racism and Social Inequities are a public health crisis affecting our entire country.
  2. Work to progress as an equity and justice-oriented organization, with the Port Huron City Council and its staff leadership continuing to identify specific activities to further enhance diversity and to ensure antiracism principles across the City of Port Huron’s leadership, staffing and contracting.
  3. Promote equity through all policies approved by the Port Huron City Council and enhance educational efforts aimed at understanding, addressing and dismantling racism and how it affects the delivery of human and social services, economic development and public safety.
  4. Continue to advocate locally and through the various organizations of associations for relevant policies that improve health in communities of color, and supports local, state, regional, and federal initiatives that advance efforts to dismantle systemic racism.
  5. Further work to solidify alliances and partnerships with other organizations that are confronting racism and encourage other local, state, regional and national entities to recognize racism as a public health crisis.
  6. Support community efforts to amplify issues of racism and engage actively and authentically with communities of color wherever they live.
  7. To always promote and support policies that prioritize the health of all people, especially people of color by mitigating exposure to adverse childhood experiences.
  8. Continue on-going racial equity training with the goal of reaching all agencies leadership and staff.
  9. Encourage racial equity training among all community partners, grantees, vendors and contractors.
  10. Identify clear goals and objectives, including periodic reports to the Port Huron City Council, to assess progress and capitalize on opportunities to further advance racial equity; and
  • BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Port Huron City Council supports all additional efforts in the City of Port Huron and the State of Michigan, and nationwide to address public health disparities due to Racism and Social Inequities; and
  • BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Port Huron City Council call upon the Governor and the Speaker of the Michigan House to join with us to declare Racism and Social Inequities as a public health crisis and to enact equity in all policies of the State of Michigan.

On June 9, 2020, the City Council of Pontiac, Michigan passed a resolution declaring racism as a public health crisis (Resolution 20-255) (pages 8-9). The resolution states (whereas clauses omitted):

  • NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Pontiac City Council and members of this great community hereby:
  • Assert that racism is a public health crisis affecting our entire society; and,
  • Conduct an assessment of internal policy and procedures to ensure racial equity is a core element of the organization, led by a Board in collaboration with other relevant parties, communicates results of assessment, and determines appropriate interval for reassessment, and,
  • Work to create an equity and justice oriented organization, with the Board and Committees identifying specific activities to increase diversity and to incorporate anti-racism principles across membership, leadership, staffing and contracting; and,
  • Incorporate into the organizational workplan educational efforts to address and dismantle racism, expand members’ understanding of racism, and how racism affects individual and population health and provide tools to assist members to engage actively and authentically with communities of color; and,
  • Advocate for relevant policies that improve health in communities of color, and support local, state, and federal initiatives that advance social justice, while also encouraging individual member advocacy to dismantle systemic racism; and,
  • Work to build alliances and partnerships with other organizations that are confronting racism and encourages other local, state and national entities to recognize racism as a public health crisis.

On the same day, June 9, 2020, the Board of Commissioners of Ingham County, Michigan unanimously passed a resolution (pages 168-170) declaring racism as a public health crisis. The resolution states (whereas clauses omitted):

  • THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Ingham County Board of Commissioners hereby declares racism as a public health crisis in the County of Ingham that affects all members of our society on a local (urban and rural), state, and national level and demands action from all levels of government and society.
  • BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that Ingham County is recommitting its full attention to improving the quality of life and health of our Black Ingham County residents.
  • BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Ingham County Board of Commissioners advocates for relevant policies that improve health in the Black community, and support local, state, and federal initiatives that advance social justice.
  • BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that Ingham County will assess our current and proposed laws (ordinances and health regulations) and our policies, as well as their implementation, to promote health for Blacks within Ingham County.
  • BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that Ingham County’s Health In All Policies Committee will assess internal policies and procedures to ensure racial equity is a core element in all organizational practices.
    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Ingham County Board of Commissioners shall create a broadly representative advisory board made up of Ingham County leaders, employees, and the community to achieve community-centered solutions to address the legacy of racial injustices faced by Black communities.
  • BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this Board of Commissioners urges other governmental bodies to declare racism as a public health crisis and to immediately take steps to intentionally address and support methods that will strategically reduce the long-term impact of systemic racism.

On June 10, 2020, a week after its County Board of Health had declared racism as a public health crisis, the Genesee County Board of Commissioners passed a similar resolution (Resolution 2020-354) (pages 29-34). The resolution states (whereas clauses omitted):

  • NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that, in union with the Genesee County Board of Health, this Board of County Commissioners of Genesee County, Michigan:
  1. Asserts that racism is a public health crisis affecting our entire society;
  2. Conducts an assessment of internal policy and procedures to ensure racial equity is a core element of this Board and all Genesee County departments and offices;
  3. Works to create an equity and justice-oriented organization 10 with this Board and its Committees identifying specific activities to increase diversity and to incorporate anti-racism principles across Board membership, leadership, staffing, and contracting;
  4. Incorporates into the organizational workplan educational efforts to address and dismantle racism, expand members’ understanding of racism and how racism affects individual and population health, and provide tools to assist members to engage actively and authentically with communities of color;
  5. Advocates for relevant policies that improve health in communities of color and supports local, state, and federal initiatives that advance social justice, while also encouraging individual member advocacy to dismantle systemic racism;
  6. Works to build alliances and partnerships with other organizations that are confronting racism and encourages other local, state, and national entities to recognize racism as a public health crisis.
  • BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this Board will consider allocating adequate financial resources within its budget to accomplish these activities.

And on June 10, 2020 a resolution declaring racism as a public health crisis that was introduced in the Michigan State Senate on June 4 was referred to the Committee on Government Operations (Senate Concurrent Resolution 0027). Michigan becomes the second state legislature to consider such a resolution. The resolution states (whereas clauses omitted):

  • Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives  concurring), That we declare that racism is a public health crisis in the state of Michigan and we commit to working collaboratively with the Governor and every sector of society to develop an ongoing strategy to address, fund, and support solutions that strategically reduce the long-term impact that racism has on the quality of life and health for citizens of color in the state of Michigan…

On June 16, 2020, the Board of Commissioners of Kalamazoo County, Michigan passed a proclamation declaring racism as a public health crisis . The resolution state (whereas clauses omitted):

  • BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT Kalamazoo County is recommitting our full attention to improving the quality of life and health of our Black Kalamazoo County residents.
  • BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the Board of Commissioners advocate for relevant policies that improve health in the Black community, and support local, state, and federal initiatives that advance liberty and justice for all.
  • BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED Kalamazoo County will assess our current and proposed laws (ordinances and health regulations) and our policies, as well as their implementation, to promote health for Blacks within Kalamazoo County.
  • BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED Kalamazoo County’s Administration and Equity Taskforce will assess internal policies and procedures to ensure racial equity is a core element in all organizational practices.
  • BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED Kalamazoo County will expand the role of the Equity Taskforce that is made up of Kalamazoo County leaders, employees, and the community to achieve solutions to address the legacy of structural and systemic racism in Kalamazoo County.
  • NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED BY THE KALAMAZOO COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS HEREBY declares racism as a public health crisis in Kalamazoo County that affects all members of our society on a local (urban and rural), state, and national level and demands action from all levels of government and society.

And that same day, June 16, 2020, the City Council of Jackson, Michigan also passed a resolution declaring racism as a public health crisis (Agenda Item 9A) (pages 47-50). The resolution states (whereas clauses omitted):

  • THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Jackson City Council hereby declares racism as a public health crisis in the City of Jackson that affects all members of our society on a local, state, and national level and demands action from all levels of government and society; and
  • BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the City of Jackson recommits its full attention to improving the quality of life and health of our Black City of Jackson residents; and
  • BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Jackson City Council advocates for relevant policies that improve health in the Black community, and support local, state, and federal initiatives that advance social justice, while also encouraging individual member advocacy to dismantle systemic racism; and
  • BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the City of Jackson will assess our current and proposed ordinances, and internal policies and procedures, as well as their implementation, to ensure racial equity is a core element of our government, communicate the results of assessment, and determine the appropriate interval for reassessment; and
  • BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the City of Jackson Human Relations Commission will engage residents, businesses and nonprofits to achieve community-centered solutions that address the legacy of racial injustices faced by Black communities, and identify specific activities to increase diversity and to incorporate anti-racism principles across membership, leadership, staffing and contracting in the City of Jackson; and
  • BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the City of Jackson will support on-going racial equity training with the goal of reaching all City of Jackson leadership and staff and encourage racial equity training among all community partners, grantees, vendors and contractors; and
  • BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this City Council urges other governmental bodies to declare racism as a public health crisis and to immediately take steps to intentionally address and support methods that will strategically reduce the long-term impact and public health disparities of systemic racism; and
  • BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Jackson City Council requests that the City Clerk forward copies of this resolution to the Governor of the State of Michigan, Jackson County’s State Legislative delegation, and the Jackson County Board of Commissioners.

On June 22, 2020, the City Council of Lansing, Michigan and the City Council of Marysville, Michigan both passed resolutions declaring racism as a public health crisis.

COLORADO

On June 8, 2020 the City Council of Denver, Colorado unanimously passed a proclamation declaring racism as a public health crisis (Proclamation 20-0543). Colorado becomes the tenth state with a local government making such a declaration. The proclamation states (whereas clauses omitted):

  • NOW THEREFORE, BE IT PROCLAIMED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY AND COUNTY OF DENVER:
  • Section 1. That the Council of the City and County of Denver acknowledge that the effects of intergenerational racism are a public health crisis in Denver and the United States, and advocate for racial justice as a core element of Denver’s policies, programs and procedures. We support the expansion of documented equity decision-making frameworks that are transparent to the public, agency organizational work plans to address and correct embedded policies that discriminate and perpetuate racism, educational efforts to address and dismantle racism, including how racism affects individual and population health, providing tools to assist members of local government to engage actively and authentically with communities of color, and to apply an anti-racism lens to their outreach with all communities.

On June 16, 2020, the Board of Health of Jefferson County, Colorado passed a resolution declaring racism as a public health crisis. The resolution states:

  • NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT THE JEFFERSON COUNTY BOARD OF HEALTH REQUESTS JEFFERSON COUNTY PUBLIC HEALTH TO:
  • Assess internal policies to ensure racial and ethnic equity
  • Develop policy platforms which address systemic racism and injustices
  • Actively engage people and communities of color affected by disadvantage and poverty to alleviate harmful conditions in which people live, work and age, and;
  • Enhance data collection and analyses that produce a justice-informed community needs assessment and community health improvement plan.

INDIANA

On June 8, 2020, the City-County Council of Indianapolis (City of Indianapolis and County of Marion) unanimously passed an emergency resolution declaring racism as a public health crisis (Proposal No. 182, 2020). The resolution states (whereas clauses omitted):

  • BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY-COUNTY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF INDIANAPOLIS AND OF MARION COUNTY, INDIANA:
  • SECTION 1. That we declare racism to be a public health crisis in Indianapolis and Marion County that affects all members of our community and deserves action from all levels of government and civil society; and
  • SECTION 2. That this Council commits to frank and open discussions of race and the impact of the decisions we make upon racial inequities in our community, that these discussions will be integrated into our daily work together, and that we will address issues of race and racial disparities in a full and forthright manner; and
  • SECTION 3. That we call upon all city and county elected officials and departments to continue, with urgency, the review of policies and procedures for the purposes of eradicating implicit and explicit racial bias and develop instead policies and procedures that build racial equity; and
  • SECTION 4. That City and County departments should immediately access all available tools to eliminate disparities based on race, place, or identity across key indicators of success, including health, education, criminal justice, the environment, employment and the economy; and
  • SECTION 5. That City and County departments shall collect data, disaggregated by race, on department staffing, procurement, contracting, and recipients of government intervention; that departments present the data to the Council and make this data publicly available via their websites, with the intention of incorporating racial equity into the analysis of governmental action and strengthening the city’s commitment to analyze and address racial disparities…

On June 22, 2020, the Common Council of the City of Evansville, Indiana passed a resolution declaring racism as a public health crisis (Resolution C-2020-13). The resolution states:

  • NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Common Council of the Evansville, Indiana (“City Council”), that it declares racism to be a public health crisis in Evansville that affects all members of our community and demands our attention and deserves action from all levels of government and ranks of civil society; and
  • BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this City Council dedicates itself to honest and open debate, discussion, and analysis of race and the effect our decisions impress upon racial inequity in our community, that these vital communications will be incorporated into our collective daily work, and that we will address issues of race and racial disparities in a full and frank manner; and
  • BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this City Council, all City Departments, and all City residents are encouraged to intentionally close racial disparities and work to foster a more equitable community;
  • BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this City Council and all City Departments will address racial inequalities by investing in disadvantaged neighborhoods and those neighborhoods whose residents suffer most from racial disparities;
  • BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we urge all city elected officials and departments to continue, with sincere haste, the review of policies and procedures for the express purpose of eradicating implicit and explicit racial bias and enact policies and procedures that develop racial equity in their place; and
  • BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this City departments should immediately utilize all available tools and methods to eliminate disparities based on race, place, or identity across key metrics and indicators of success, including health, employment, criminal justice, the environment, education and the economy; and
  • BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this City departments shall develop a plan to collect data regarding racial disparities in department staffing, procurement, contracting, and recipients of government intervention, with the purpose of incorporating racial equity into the analysis of governmental action and emboldening the city’s commitment to analyze and address racial disparities…

NEW JERSEY

On June 1, 2020, through the action of its Mayor and Council, Leonia Borough in Bergen County, New Jersey became the first local jurisdiction in the state to declare racism as a public health crisis (Resolution 2020-124). New Jersey is the twelfth state with a local jurisdiction making such a declaration. The resolution states (whereas clauses omitted):

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Leonia that the Borough of Leonia does hereby declare racism to be a public health crisis, and that the Mayor and Council shall also;

  1. Promote equity through all policies approved by the Mayor and Council.
  2. Enhance educational efforts aimed at understanding, addressing and dismantling racism and how it affects the delivery of human and social services, economic development and public safety.
  3. Continue to advocate locally and through the New Jersey State League of Municipalities, New Jersey Conference of Mayors and all other appropriate associations for relevant policies that improve health in communities of color.
  4. Support local, state, regional, and federal initiatives that advance efforts to dismantle systemic racism.
  5. Further work to solidify alliances and partnerships with other organizations that are confronting racism and encourage other local, state, regional and national entities to recognize racism as a public health crisis.
  6. Support community efforts to amplify issues of racism and engage actively and authentically with communities of color wherever they live.
  7. Promote and support policies that prioritize the health of all people, especially people of color by mitigating exposure to adverse childhood experiences.
  8. Encourage racial equity training among all community partners, vendors and contractors.
  9. Call upon Bergen County Executive Tedesco and the Bergen County Board of Chosen Freeholders to declare racism as a public health crisis and to enact equity in all policies in the County of Bergen.
  10. Call upon Governor Murphy, State Senate President Sweeney, and State Assembly Speaker Coughlin to also declare racism as a public health crisis and to enact equity in all policies of the state of New Jersey…

On June 11, 2020, the Board of Chosen Freeholders of Hudson County, New Jersey became the second jurisdiction in New Jersey to declare racism as a public health crisis (Agenda Item 25).

TEXAS

On June 16, 2020, the Commissioners Court of Dallas County, Texas, became the first jurisdiction in Texas to pass a resolution declaring racism as a public health crisis. The resolution states (whereas clauses omitted):

Be it resolved and ordered that the Dallas County Commissioners Court does hereby:

  1. Assert that racism is a public health crisis affecting our entire county.
  2. Work to progress as an equity and justice-oriented organization, with the Commissioners Court and its staff leadership continuing to identify specific activities to further enhance diversity and to ensure antiracism principles across Commissioners Court leadership, staffing and contracting.
  3. Promote equity through all policies approved by the Commissioners Court and enhance educational efforts aimed at understanding, addressing and dismantling racism and how it affects the delivery of human and social services, economic development and public safety.
  4. Continue to advocate locally and through the National Association of Counties for relevant policies that improve health in Black communities, and supports local, state, regional, and federal initiatives that advance efforts to dismantle systemic racism.
  5. Further work to solidify alliances and partnerships with other organizations that are confronting racism and encourage other local, state, regional and national entities to recognize racism as a public health crisis.
  6. Support community efforts to amplify issues of racism and engage actively and authentically with communities of color wherever they live.
  7. To always promote and support policies that prioritize the health of all people, especially people of color by mitigating exposure to adverse childhood experiences.
  8. Institute racial equity training with the goal of reaching all Commissioners Court agency leadership and staff.
  9. Encourage racial equity training among all community partners, grantees, vendors and contractors.
  10. Identify clear goals and objectives, including periodic reports to the Commissioners Court, to assess progress and capitalize on opportunities to further advance racial equity; and, be it
  • Further resolved, that the Commissioners Court supports all additional efforts in Dallas County, the State of Texas and nationwide to address racism and public health disparities due to racial inequities; and, be it
  • Further resolved, that the Dallas County Commissioners Court call upon the Governor, the Speaker of the Texas House, and the Texas Senate President and Attorney General to join with us to declare racism as a public health crisis and to enact equity in all policies of the State of Texas.

NORTH CAROLINA

On June 8, 2020, the Board of Commissioners of Durham County passed a resolution declaring racism as a public health crisis. North Carolina becomes the fourteenth state where a local government has declared racism as a public health crisis. The resolution states (whereas clauses omitted):

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that we, the members of the Durham County Board of Commissioners:

  1. Assert that racism is a public health crisis affecting our entire county
  2. Work to progress as an equity and justice-oriented organization, with the Board of Commissioners and its staff leadership continuing to identify specific activities to further enhance diversity and to ensure antiracism principles across Board of Commissioners leadership, staffing and contracting.
  3. Promote equity through all policies approved by the Board of
    Commissioners and enhance educational efforts aimed at understanding, addressing and dismantling racism and how it affects the delivery of human and social services, economic development and
  4. Support community efforts to amplify issues of racism and engage actively and authentically with communities of color wherever they live.
  5. To always promote and support policies that prioritize the health of all people, especially people of color by mitigating exposure to adverse childhood experiences.
  6. Ensure on-going antiracism, racial equity training with the goal of reaching all members of the Board of County Commissioners, county leadership and staff.
  7. Encourage current racial equity training among all community partners, grantees, vendors and contractors.
  8. Identify clear goals and objectives, including periodic reports to the Board of Commissioners, to assess progress and capitalize on opportunities to further advance racial equity.

On June 16, 2020, the Board of Commissioners of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina passed a proclamation declaring racism as a public health crisis (Proclamation 20-6227). The proclamation states (whereas clauses omitted):

  • NOW THEREFORE. BE IT RESOLVED, that the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners believes that racism can form the basis for a public health crisis affecting our entire County and should be treated with the urgency and funding of a public health crisis. Looking at racism in this way offers legislators, health officials, and others an opportunity to analyze data and discuss how to dismantle or change problematic institutions. Mecklenburg County will seek to promote racial equity through policies approved by the Board of Commissioners and will encourage other local, state and national entities to recognize racism as a public health crisis as well.

The following day, on June 17, 2020, Mayor Vi Lyles of Charlotte, North Carolina signed a proclamation that racism is a public health crisis.

CONNECTICUT

On June 16, 2020, the Town Council of Windsor, Connecticut passed a resolution declaring racism as a public health crisis (pages 56-59). The resolution states (whereas clauses omitted):

Now, therefore, be it Resolved, that the Windsor Town Council

  1. Assert that racism is a public health crisis affecting our town and all of Connecticut;
  2. Work to progress as an equity and justice-oriented organization, by continuing to identify specific activities to enhance diversity and to ensure antiracism principles across our leadership, staffing and contracting;
  3. Promote equity through all policies approved by the Town Council and enhance educational efforts aimed at understanding, addressing and dismantling racism and how it affects the delivery of human and social services, economic development and public safety;
  4. Improve the quality of data our town collects and analysis fo that data – it is not enough to assume that an initiative is producing its intended outcome, qualitative and quantitative data should be used to assess inequities impact and continuously improve;
  5. Continue to advocate locally for relevant policies that improve health in communities of color, and support local, state, regional, and federal initiatives that advance efforts to dismantle systemic racism;
  6. Further work to solidify alliances and partnerships with other organizations that are confronting racism and encourage other local state, regional, and national entities to recognize racism as a public health crisis;
  7. Support community efforts to amplify issues of racism and engage actively and authentically with communities of color wherever they live; and
  8. Identify clear goals and objectives, including periodic reports to the Town Council, to assess progress and capitalize on opportunities to further advance health equity.

On June 22, 2020, both the Court of the Common Council of the City of Hartford, Connecticut and the Town Council of Bloomfield, Connecticut passed resolutions declaring racism as a public health crisis.

On June 23, 2020, the Town Council of West Hartford, Connecticut passed a similar resolution declaring racism as a public health crisis.

On June 24, 2020, the Common Council of the City of New Britain, Connecticut became the latest local jurisdiction in the state to pass such a resolution.

NEBRASKA

On June 17, 2020, the Board of Health of Douglas County, Nebraska declared racism as a public health crisis. Nebraska becomes the sixteenth state where local government bodies have made such declarations. The declaration states (whereas clauses omitted):

  • NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by this Board of Health that the Douglas County Health Department declared that racism is a public health crisis affecting our entire community.
  • BE IT ALSO RESOLVED that the Douglas County Health Department will:
  1. Establish and support an Office of Health Equity and Racial Justice;
  2. Include in any decision making the people most affected by health and economic challenges and benchmark progress on these outcomes;
  3. Review the current DCHD Health Equity policy to ensure an updated glossary of terms and definitions concerning racism and health equity;
  4. Work to create an equity and justice-oriented organization, with the BOH and Management Staff identifying specific activities to embrace diversity and to incorporate antiracism principles across DCHD, leadership, staffing and contracting;
  5. Incorporate into the organization structure a plan for educational efforts to understand, address and dismantle racism, in order to undo how racism affects individual and population health and provide tools to assist the DCHD staff, Board of Health, contractors, and its jurisdictions on how to engage actively and authentically with communities of color;
  6. Advocate for relevant policies that improve health in communities of color, and supports local, state, regional, and federal initiative that advance efforts to dismantle systemic racism;
  7. Ensure the consistent collection, analysis and reporting of disaggregated data for all public health efforts (age, race, ethnicity, gender, disability, neighborhood, sociodemographic characteristics and impact to health status) with data visualization and storytelling of said data;
  8. Develop and implement routine health equity/racial equity impact assessment process to help leaders understand the racial equity implications to existing and/or new policy, programs and/or institutional practice;
  9. Work to build alliances and partnerships with other organizations that are confronting racism and encourage other local, state, regional and national entities to recognize racism as a public health crisis;
  10. Promote community engagement, actively engaging community members on issues of racism, and providing tools to engage actively and authentically with communities of color;
  11. Commit to assisting in the review of all portions of City and County ordinances through a racial equity lens;
  12. Commit to conduct all human resources, vendor selection and grant management activities with a racial equity lens including reviewing all internal policies and practices such as hiring, promotions, leadership appointments and funding;
  13. Promote racially equitable economic and workforce development practices;
  14. To always promote and support all policies that prioritize the health of all people, especially people of color by mitigating exposure to adverse childhood experiences, trauma in childhood and ensuring implementation of Health and Equity in All Policies throughout the County;
  15. Proactively identify and address existing policy gaps while advocating for further local, state, federal or national support;
  16. Support efforts to invest in strengthening public health , health care and social infrastructure to foster resilience;
  17. Train all BOH members, staff, funders and grantees on workplace biases and how to mitigate them;
  18. Partner and build alliances with local organizations that have a legacy and track record of confronting racism;
  19. Encourage community partners and stakeholders in the education, employment, housing, criminal justice and safety arenas to recognize racism as a public health crisis and to implement portions or all of this declaration;
  20. Identify clear goals and objectives, including specific benchmarks, to assess progress and capitalize on opportunities to further advance racial equity; and
  21. Establish alliances and secure adequate resources to successfully accomplish the above activities;
  22. Conduct an assessment of internal policy and procedures to ensure racial equity is a core element of DCHD, supported by the BOH in collaboration with the Management Team and the Health Equity Committee.

WASHINGTON

On June 11, 2020, the King County Executive and Public Health-Seattle & King Director issued a joint statement declaring racism as a public health crisis, committing to an “Anti-Racism Crisis Response Bill of Rights” that “will include principles such as, do no harm; co-create with those most vulnerable both in the short- and long-term; provide safe, respectful and culturally responsive care, services and information, delivered in a manner centered in [Black, indigenous, and people of color] BIPOC communities; and provide access to crisis-related services and resources for all community members and provide redress to community members within established mechanisms when barriers or gaps are identified.”

On June 18, 2020, the Board of Health of King County passed a resolution declaring racism as a public health crisis (Resolution 20-08). The resolution stated (whereas clauses omitted):

  • NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Board of Health of King County:
  • A. The Board declares racism a public health crisis;
  • B. The Board supports King County and Public Health – Seattle & King County immediately in the work to advance a public health approach in addressing institutional and systemic racism;
  • C. The Board commits to assessing, revising, and writing its guiding documents and its policies with a racial justice and equity lens including the Board of Health Code and annual workplan; and
  • D. The Board members commit to ongoing work around race and equity such as participating in racial equity training, engaging and being responsive to communities and residents impacted by racism, especially Black and Indigenous communities, as partners in identifying and implementing solutions, establishing an agreed upon understanding of racial equity principles to work towards antiracist policies and practices and to serve as ambassadors of racial equity work.

On June 17, 2020, the Tacoma-Pierce County Board of Health passed a similar resolution declaring racism as a public health crisis (Resolution No. 2020‐4648) The resolution states (whereas clauses omitted):

  • NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED: Tacoma‐Pierce County Board of Health declares racism is a public health crisis and charges the Health Department to:
  • Assess internal policies and procedures to address and reform structures and processes that contribute to race based decisions and actions.
  • Reshape our discourse and agenda so we all actively engage in anti‐racist work, particularly anti‐black racism.
  • Review our budget and make recommendations for funding changes, allocations or re‐allocations that fund the work of transforming systemic racism as a means of resolving disparities by changing the systems that cause them.
  • Partner with community to co‐create solutions.
  • Promote policy and system level changes within Pierce County to move beyond equity only and undo racist structures.

MINNESOTA

Days after the murder of George Floyd, Minneapolis City Council Vice-Chairperson Andrea Jenkins called for a declaration that racism is a public health crisis. Council member Jenkins is still working on drafting the resolution.

On June 23, 2020, the Board of Commissioners of Hennepin County, Minnesota passed a resolution declaring racism as a public health crisis, making Minnesota the eighteen state with a local jurisdiction making such a declaration.

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

On June 10, 2020, the American Academy of Family Physicians sent a letter to the White House and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services urging a federal government declaration of racism as a public health emergency.

Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) intends to introduce a U.S. Senate resolution to declare racism as a public health crisis.

ADDITIONAL IMPLEMENTATION STEPS

Beyond the template resolution first created and adopted by the Wisconsin Public Health Association, these local and state government declarations of racism as a public health crisis have now articulated additional implementation steps, including:

  • Establish a glossary of terms and definitions of racism, racial equity, and health equity
  • Review budget, staffing, and resource allocation decisions through a racial equity lens
  • Provide transparency and public accountability by sharing data and progress on actions taken
  • Promote racially equitable economic and workforce development practices
  • Mitigate exposure to adverse childhood experiences and trauma in childhood
  • Support African American arts and culture
  • Increase funding for prevention, substance use recovery, mental and behavioral health, and diversion from the criminal justice system
  • Provide implicit bias, de-escalation, crisis intervention, and health and mental wellness training for police officers
  • End receipt of federal military weaponry distribution
  • Promote community engagement, actively engaging citizens on issues of racism
  • Encourage community partners and stakeholders in the education, employment, housing, criminal justice, and safety arenas to recognize racism as a public health crisis
  • Adopting and implementing public policy and systems change recommendations from Black organizations such as the Black Mamas Matter Alliance

In addition, there are specific recommendations for public policy and systems changes that have been issued by organizations working to end anti-Black racism that could be incorporated into these resolutions:

Movement for Black Lives

Six Nineteen

Black Youth Project 100

Color of Change

Center for Popular Democracy, Law for Black Lives, Black Youth Project 100

MONITORING FUTURE DECLARATIONS AND IMPLEMENTATION

As more and more local and state governments consider and enact such declarations of racism as a public health crisis, this blog posting will be updated with those additional resolutions and their implementation. Readers are encouraged to provide additional updates through comments below. The implementation of these resolutions will provide specific measures, indicators, and outcomes that can demonstrate real progress on dismantling systemic and structural racism.

One thought on “Local and State Governments Are Declaring Racism as a Public Health Crisis (updated July 10, 2020)

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