Ohio Statehouse resolution would be first in U.S. to declare racism a public health crisis

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February 07 2021 06:00 pm

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. 

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