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County Will Consider Resolution Declaring Racism as a Public Health Crisis

6/22/2020


Media Contact: Miranda Kortan: (216) 698-2546; mkortan@cuyahogacounty.us


CUYAHOGA COUNTY, OH - Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish and Cuyahoga County Council will introduce and refer legislation to the Human Resources, Appointments and Equity Committee declaring racism as a public health crisis in Cuyahoga County at the June 23rd Cuyahoga County Council meeting. The resolution addresses structural/systemic racism and the disparities between Black and White people specifically in healthcare, the criminal justice system, healthy food, safe and affordable housing, well-paying jobs and business ownership opportunities, quality transportation, educational opportunities, and safe places to be active.

“Black people have long faced numerous challenges in healthcare and in an endless number of other public health areas, including higher rates of disease, less access to healthcare, shorter life spans, and poorer health conditions,” said Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish. “Cuyahoga County has once again been reminded how Black people are disproportionately affected by health crises, most recently with the COVID-19 pandemic. Declaring racism as a public health crisis expresses our intent to address the impact of racism on public health throughout the County.”

In Cuyahoga County, Black people only represent 30.5 percent of the population but represent 40 percent of the County’s COVID-19 diagnoses, 45 percent of all the hospital admissions, and 45 percent of all the Intensive Care Units admissions related to COVID-19.

“Declaring racism as a public health crisis is good first step towards making transformative legislation. The ultimate goal is doing the hard work and exercising the political will to change the policies and procedures that have been used to oppress Black people for centuries,” said Cuyahoga County Councilwoman Shontel Brown who, along with Councilpersons Yvonne Conwell, Pernel Jones, Jr., Cheryl Stephens, Dan Brady, Dale Miller, Sunny Simon, Michael Gallagher, Scott Tuma and County Executive Armond Budish, co-authored the legislation.

With this declaration, Cuyahoga County Council and Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish will direct the County Equity Commission and the Cuyahoga County Citizens Advisory Council on Equity to review, focus, and provide recommendations to reduce the disparity between Black and White people when it comes to healthcare, the criminal justice system, healthy food, safe and affordable housing, well-paying jobs and business ownership opportunities, quality transportation, educational opportunities, and safe places to be active, with a status report no later than December 31, 2020.

The County Equity Commission and the Cuyahoga County Citizens Advisory Council on Equity will provide regular updates to the County Executive and the County Council, including the Human Resources, Appointments and Equity Committee.

Cuyahoga County will implement policy changes in response to the findings or recommendations from the County Equity Commission and the Cuyahoga County Citizens Advisory Council on Equity.

To read the full resolution, visit pages 45-52 of the June 23rd County Council agenda.