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Dems bring back public health resolution to address racism

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Dems bring back public health resolution to address racism

Dec 01, 2022 | 4:40 am ET
By Susan Tebben
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Dems bring back public health resolution to address racism
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The Oho Statehouse, Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Graham Stokes for the Ohio Capital Journal. Only republish photo with original story.)

An Ohio Senate resolution to declare racism a public health crisis is back on the table.

Democratic state Sen. Hearcel Craig of Columbus introduced the legislation on Wednesday, matching an measure he pushed in the last General Assembly.

“This problem requires attention from every level of government,” Craig told the Senate Health Committee. “In Ohio, 32 city and county governments, boards of health and mayors have officially declared racism a public health crisis.”

In touting support for the legislation as bipartisan, Craig quoted Gov. Mike DeWine, who said himself in a 2020 press conference that racism stands a public health crisis, a crisis that was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

DeWine’s comments came as a Minority Strike Force he created released their final analysis and recommendations for the state to address systemic racism in everything from health care to housing to equitable representation.

In response to the strike force’s report, DeWine planned to put together another advisory group and released a “plan of action to advance equity.”

In urging the passage of the resolution, Craig said more needs to be done to bring Ohio forward in battling systemic racism, especially as eight other legislatures have passed similar legislation.

“By declaring racism as a public health crisis in Ohio, we can take this critical step toward implementing policies and practices that will create a more equitable and just Ohio,” Craig said.

This was the first hearing the resolution has had since it was referred to the committee in February 2021.