Cleveland City Council to vote on resolution that would declare racism a public health crisis

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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WJW) — Cleveland city council will vote this week on an emergency resolution that would declare racism a public health crisis. It was approved by a council committee Monday.

“Equity can’t be on the backs of the victims it has to be on the backs of people who are in power to do something about it,” said ward 7 Councilman Basheer Jones.

At the state level there’s also growing call by some elected officials for a similar resolution that would make racism a public health crisis. 

“These things continue to happen and it’s continuing to rip the band-aid off a wound that black people continue to face in this country, which is structural racism,” said Jones.

Jones, along with ward 6 councilman Blaine Griffin and Kerry McCormack serving ward 3, co-sponsored the resolution. Griffin said working groups will be formed to study the problem and work to promote racial equity in the city.

“Between COVID-19 and riots this week showed us we have to address these systemic issues,” he said.

Griffin said the resolution was originally introduced in March. He expects it to be passed by city council Wednesday. 

“This can’t just be a piece of paper,” said Jones.

The resolution says it would work to build alliances with organizations confronting racism in addition to writing health related policies for people of color.

Click here for a look at police violence protests happening across the country.

Councilman Jones, reacting to the peaceful protest that turned chaotic in Cleveland over the weekend stated, “Remember this, burning buildings and breaking windows does not honor the dead it doesn’t honor George Floyd. It does not honor Tamir Rice and Breonna Taylor and Sandra Bland.”

Read the full Cleveland resolution here.

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