COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Recent events like COVID-19 and the death of George Floyd have pulled back the curtain on racism in the United States, and lawmakers at the Ohio Statehouse are calling for it to be declared a public health crisis.
A resolution that would make that declaration was given a committee hearing Tuesday.
Senators, doctors and everyday citizens testified to the Senate Health, Human Services, and Medicaid Committee about their experiences with racism in Ohio.
The resolution is non-binding but lays out 16 guidelines for the General Assembly to help bridge the health care gap people of color face.
“Calling it a public health crisis is saying African Americans are hurting, their health, their well being, their economy, it all rolls together,” said State Sen. Sandra Williams, D-Cleveland.
Committee chairman Senator Dave Burke said he believes the committee will have another hearing on this to allow more proponent testimony, adding he would like to take a trip out to some of these communities and hear testimony that way.
Although cities like Columbus have already declared racism a public health crisis, Ohio could be the first state to pass such a resolution.