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COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Recent events like the coronavirus 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.

Although cities like Cleveland and Columbus have already declared racism a public health crisis, Ohio could be the first state to pass such a resolution. 

 “Calling it a public health crisis is saying that 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.

For more on George Floyd and nationwide protests, click here.