July 30, 2021


There's nothing like our health

Push to name racism a public health crisis stalled in Ohio Legislature

2 min read

Mass protests over racial injustice and dismal statistics on health disparities have not moved Ohio lawmakers to pass bills to declare racism a public health crisis or address police brutality.

Resolutions backed by the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus last year to declare racism a public health crisis failed to gain approval. New concurrent resolutions introduced in February and March have yet to get a hearing in either chamber.

“It is a gross disservice to the people of the state. Instead we are focusing on voter bills that no one asked for and naming state parks after Donald Trump and a whole host of other distractions,” said House Minority Leader Emilia Sykes, D-Akron, who holds a master’s degree in public health. “There are people in this state who die prematurely and unnecessarily due to health disparities caused by racism.”

A resolution would acknowledge that there is a problem – the first step to figuring out how to fix it, she said.

In August, Gov. Mike DeWine said racism is a public health crisis

Ohio House Speaker Bob Cupp, R-Lima, said addressing racial disparities and inequalities in the state is “an ongoing effort.”

“However, the Ohio House has already performed significant amount of work to make real change throughout the state, and that work will continue,” Cupp said in a written statement.

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