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Resolution proposed to make racism a public health crisis in Ohio

'There are racial disparities in healthcare, housing, workforce development and every fabric of our system. All Ohioans must feel protected.'

CLEVELAND — There’s an effort underway to designate racism as a public health crisis in Ohio.

“Ohio must address racism by developing policy to address racial equity to protect all Ohioans, not just certain people,” Cleveland Rep. Juanita Brent said in a statement. “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.”

She signed onto the resolution Monday, which calls for the following actions as outlined on the Ohio House of Representatives site:

- 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 trauma training of all elected officials, staff, funders and grantees on workplaces 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 active the above items.

- Securing adequate resources to successfully accomplish the above activities.

If passed, officials say it will be the first of its kind at the state level.

The proposed resolution comes after protests took place across the country after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.


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