In addition to acknowledging the threat of racism to modern society, many cities across the United States have gone a step further and declared racism to be a public health crisis. As of Monday, October 18, New York City has joined that growing list.
According to Complex, The NYC Board of Health has passed a resolution that declares racism a public health crisis, and in order to combat it, the Board of Health has outlined seven specific steps for the state’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to follow, from “[researching, clarifying, and acknowledging] examples of its historic role in divesting and underinvesting in critical community-led health programs” to “[consulting] with relevant community organizations [to] perform an anti-racism review of the NYC Health Code.”
“To build a healthier New York City, we must confront racism as a public health crisis,” Health Commissioner Dr. Dave A. Chokshi said in regard to the Health Board’s newly passed resolution. “The COVID-19 pandemic magnified inequities, leading to suffering disproportionately borne by communities of color in our City and across our nation. But these inequities are not inevitable. Today is a historic day for the country’s oldest Board of Health to officially recognize this crisis and demand action.”
You can read the NYC Board of Health’s full resolution here.
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Although it officially passed the aforementioned resolution earlier this week, this isn’t the New York City Board of Health’s first time addressing racism as a public health crisis. Last summer, following the murder of George Floyd, issued a statement alongside the hashtag #RacismIsAPublicHealthCrisis, saying:
Racism is a public health crisis. The murder of Goerge Floyd at the hands of police officers is part of the system of racism that permits police brutality, unjust policing and mass incarceration. IN NYC, Black and Brown communities face the disproportionate impact, grief and loss from the COVID-19 pandemic on top of the trauma of state sanctioned violence. The NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is committed to addressing structural racism within our own institution and addressing racism as a social determinant of health as part of our mission to protect the health of New Yorkers. To make lasting change, we call on our sister city agencies to address structural racism in their own organizations: Join us in this stand against injustice to do better in service of Black, Brown, and all New Yorkers.
New York’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has now laid out initiatives to address racism as a public health crisis, so stay tuned to see how the city contributes to the fight against racism.[via]