Tuesday, Dallas County Commissioners passed a resolution to declare racism as a public health crisis.
The measure says racism “unfairly disadvantages specific individuals and communities while unfairly giving advantages to other individuals and communities, and saps the strength of the whole society through the waste of human resources.”
Health disparities in Black communities including heart disease, adult diabetes, higher infant mortality rates and mental health issues are mentioned in the resolution.
The resolution is presented by longtime commissioner John Wiley Price and addresses ten points meant to tackle racism in Dallas County:
- Assert that racism is a public health crisis affecting our entire county.
- Work to progress as an equity and justice-oriented organization, with the Commissioners Court and its staff leadership continuing to identify specific activities to further enhance diversity and to ensure antiracism principles across Commissioners Court leadership, staffing and contracting.
- Promote equity through all policies approved by the Commissioners Court and enhance educational efforts aimed at understanding, addressing and dismantling racism and how it affects the delivery of human and social services, economic development and public safety.
- Continue to advocate locally and through the National Association of Counties for relevant policies that improve health in Black communities, and supports local, state, regional, and federal initiatives that advance efforts to dismantle systemic racism.
- Further work to solidify alliances and partnerships with other organizations that are confronting racism and encourage other local, state, regional and national entities to recognize racism as a public health crisis.
- Support community efforts to amplify issues of racism and engage actively and authentically with communities of color wherever they live.
- To always promote and support policies that prioritize the health of all people, especially people of color by mitigating exposure to adverse childhood experiences.
- Institute racial equity training with the goal of reaching all Commissioners Court agency leadership and staff.
- Encourage racial equity training among all community partners, grantees, vendors and contractors.
- Identify clear goals and objectives, including periodic reports to the Commissioners Court, to assess progress and capitalize on opportunities to further advance racial equity.
The resolution goes on to say the Commissioners Court would support all efforts in Dallas County, across the state and nationwide to address racism and public health disparities due to racial inequities and goes on to call on the governor and other state leaders to declare racism a public health crisis.
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The Dallas County Commissioners Court meets at 9 a.m. Tuesday.