U.S. Sens. Alex Padilla, D-Calif.; Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Cory Booker, D-N.J., have reintroduced a resolution to declare racism a public health crisis.
The senators previously introduced the resolution in April 2021.
According to a news release, the senators’ resolution acknowledges the history of racism and discrimination within health care and the systemic barriers that people of color continue to face when seeking care.
The resolution also highlights what the senators see as the effects of systemic racism on the health and wellness of communities of color, resulting in shorter life expectancy, worsened health outcomes and enhanced exposure to harmful or dangerous environments. The resolution encourages action to address health disparities and inequity across all sectors in society.
“Over generations, racism and its compounding impacts have harmed the health and well-being in communities of color across America,” Sen. Padilla said. “Our resolution declaring that racism is a public health crisis is a first step toward bringing more attention to these deep-rooted inequities. And it must also serve as a catalyst in the urgent work to address these health disparities and deliver justice for millions of Americans.”
Sen. Brown said progress will not be made until the nation acknowledges all the ways centuries of racism and oppression have harmed black and brown Americans.
“For too long, communities of color have suffered disproportionately from countless illnesses and conditions, from maternal and infant mortality to chronic diseases,” Sen. Booker said. “These health inequities are the direct result of centuries of racist policies that have disenfranchised, disinvested, and disrespected black, indigenous and other communities of color. Declaring racism a public health crisis is a crucial step toward addressing the deep-rooted and systemic inequities that continue to exacerbate health disparities in our nation.”
The full text of the resolution is available at www.brown.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/resolution_declaring_racism_a_public_health_crisis.pdf.
A list of organizations in support of the resolution is available at www.brown.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/senate_resolution_declaring_racism_a_public_health_crisis_supporters.pdf.