Cleveland council committee approves resolution that would declare racism a public health crisis

Updated: Jun. 1, 2020 at 11:07 AM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The Cleveland City Council’s Health and Human Services Committee met on Monday to discuss a proposed resolution that would declare racism as a public health crisis.

The virtual committee meeting comes during the COVID-19 pandemic and days after peaceful demonstrations turned to civil unrest in downtown Cleveland over the death of George Floyd, the African-American man who died in custody after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt down on his neck.

The committee passed the resolution, which was actually introduced before both the protests what is known now about the coronavirus’ impact on minority communities, unanimously. It will now move to the full council for a vote on Wednesday.

“Council recognizes that racism is a public health crisis that affects all members of our society both on a local level and nationwide and deserves action from all levels of government and civil society," the resolution declares.

Public health experts and community leaders joined the Cleveland council members to discuss how racism affects a large number of people and threatens their health over a long period of time.

“The pandemic has laid bare even more plainly that African Americans and other minority groups who have less access to high quality medical care, cleaner environments and healthy fresh food are dying at greater rates than others, despite not being infected at a higher rate,” said Councilman Blaine Griffin.

If passed by the Cleveland City Council, the resolution would help address issues of racial equity in health care, as well as in economic and workforce development.

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