Salt Lake City declares racism a public health crisis

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A health care worker prepares a dose of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine during a Kedren Health mobile vaccine clinic at the Watts Juneteenth Street Fair on June 19, 2021 in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. – The US on June 17 designated Juneteenth, which marks the end of slavery in the country, a federal holiday with President Joe Biden urging Americans “to learn from our history.” (Photo by Patrick T. FALLON / AFP) (Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY (NewsNation Now) — Salt Lake City declared racism a public health crisis Tuesday and committed to making policies that are anti-racist.

The resolution focuses on reviewing current health data to see how interpersonal and structural issues cause harm to people of color. It will then recommend changes to counteract those inequalities.

In a tweet announcing the new resolution, Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall stated, “We are publicly acknowledging the existence of a grave inequity many in our community have long experienced, and are committing ourselves to creating policies and ordinances that are anti-racist.”

The resolution outlines the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s own declaration that racism in public health is a problem.

In May, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, specified during a speech at Emory University that the pandemic exposed “the undeniable effects of racism.”

“Now, very few of these comorbidities have racial determinants,” Fauci said. “Almost all relate to the social determinants of health dating back to disadvantageous conditions that some people of color find themselves in from birth regarding the availability of an adequate diet, access to health care and the undeniable effects of racism in our society.”

Those aspects of racial discrimination in health are outlined in Salt Lake City’s declaration, which promises to address those components and increase transparency when it comes to race and health.

Salt Lake City is not the first city to declare racism as a public health crisis. Louisville announced their own declaration in the aftermath of the Breonna Taylor shooting protests.

Breonna Taylor became the face of national protests after she died during a police drug raid of her home. Law enforcement did not find drugs on the property. Her death sparked nationwide outrage over police misconduct.

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