Washtenaw County declares racism a public health crisis

Racism is now declared a public health crisis in Washtenaw County.
The health board is passing a resolution this week stating racism is a public health crisis that "harms, kills and prevents individuals and communities from living healthy lives."

The Washtenaw County Health Department also says it will dedicate resources to work in solidarity with social movements for racial justice, and to work in partnership with community members,

The declaration comes a month after video surfaced showing a sheriff's deputy punching a woman during an arrest.

“We know that racism has helped drive unequal economic, cultural, and medical circumstances that each, and in concert, lead to poorer health outcomes for people of color throughout America,” said James J. Carty, Chair of the Board of Health in a release. “The only way to change this is to acknowledge it and
center it as we try to learn from the mistakes of our past and build a better community where all residents of Washtenaw County are served fairly and equally.”

The Board of Health said it met virtually on Friday, June 26 and agreed to take action through a resolution. The resolution was finalized Tuesday and which included commitments that include the promise of decision-making and sharing of resources with community members and communities of color who are most impacted by existing health disparities.