COLUMBUS— Rep. Juanita Brent (D-Cleveland) signed onto a resolution that would designate racism as a public health crisis, echoing similar calls in Cleveland and Franklin County. The resolution, if passed, would be the first of its kind passed at the state level.
“Racism is a public health crisis,” said Rep. Brent. “Ohio must address racism by developing policy to address racial equity to protect all Ohioans not just certain people. There are racial disparities in healthcare, housing, workforce development and every fabric of our system. All Ohioans must feel protected. That is why we must continue to stand together, let our voices be heard, and fight just as our ancestors did. Revolutions are not a one-time event.”
The resolution comes on the heels of protests in Columbus and in advance of more protests planned around the state following the death of George Floyd. Protests over his death have erupted throughout the country.
The resolution calls for the following actions:
- Establishing a glossary of terms and definitions concerning racism and health equity;
- Assert that racism is a public health crisis affecting our entire community;
- Incorporating educational efforts to address and dismantle racism, and expand understanding of racism and how racism affects individual and population health;
- Promoting community engagement, actively engaging citizens on issues of racism, and providing tools to engage actively and authentically with communities of color;
- Committing to review all portions of codified ordinances with a racial equity lens;
- Committing 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;
- Promoting racially equitable economic and workforce development practices;
- Promoting and encouraging all policies that prioritize the health of people of color, and support local, state, regional, and federal initiatives that advance efforts to dismantle systematic racism and mitigating exposure to adverse childhood experience and traumaTraining of all elected officials, staff, funders and grantees on workplace biases and how to mitigate them;
- Partnering and building alliances with local organizations that have a legacy and track record of confronting racism;
- Encouraging community partners and stakeholders in the education, employment, housing, and criminal justice and safety arenas to recognize racism as a public health crisis and to activate the above items;
- Securing adequate resources to successfully accomplish the above activities.