New York City declares racism a public health crisis

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The New York City Board of Health on Tuesday passed a resolution declaring racism a public health crisis, joining a growing list of local governments trying to find ways to address the problem.

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The resolution called on the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to review the city’s health code and take steps to find ways to combat structural racism.

“For New York City to be healthy, we must confront racism as a public health crisis,” Health Commissioner Dr Dave Chokshi said in a statement.


He said the Covid-19 pandemic exacerbated inequalities, which led to “disproportionately afforded by communities of color in our city and across the country.”

According to a study by the National Cancer Institute, Covid-19 killed a disproportionate number of blacks, Latinos and Native Americans.

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Dr Chokshi said the proposal was to recognize the “crisis” of health inequalities on racial lines and “call for action”.

The board also offered recommendations for the Department of Health, including policy review and the creation of a “Data for Equity” group to ensure the interpretation of health data. an anti-racist approach.

The board suggested working with agencies to report race-based deaths and health status, following progress reports about the resolution twice a year.

The New York City Public Design Commission on Monday unanimously voted to destroy the seven-foot bronze statue of former US President Thomas Jefferson, which has been on the city council since 1915.

The former president was known as a slave. Despite being the primary author of the Declaration of Independence, he enslaved more than 600 people and fathered at least six children with Sally Hemmings – a woman he had enslaved.

“Jefferson embodied some of the most embarrassing parts of our nation’s long and nuanced history. It is time for the city to turn the page and move on,” said Adrienne, co-chair of the Council of Black, Latino and Asian Caucus Adams, told the commission.

However, the move received pushback from Sean Willentz, an American history professor at Princeton University, who wrote to the commission that “the statue specifically honors Jefferson for his greatest contribution to America, in fact, to mankind.” for.”

Since Milwaukee County in Wisconsin labeled racism a public health issue in 2019, at least 70 cities, more than 30 counties and three states have followed suit.


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