MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP - The Meridian Township Board of Trustees joined Ingham County in declaring racism a public health crisis at the Tuesday night Zoom meeting.
The proclamation is made in effort to help combat the disparity present in the American healthcare system within communities of color. The numbers with the recent coronavirus pandemic have reflected this inequality, triggering action to begin to spread across the nation.
“Many of the health effects are direct results of racism and ethnic health disparities,” said Trustee Courtney Wisinski.
These disparities are not only applicable to the nation as a whole, but in Ingham County as well. Recent Ingham County Health Department data shows that non-white and Latino residents represent 40% of COVID-19 deaths despite making up only 19% of the population.
“It’s clear. The data is there. The virus doesn’t discriminate, but our systems do,” said Wisinski.
The declaration is being spread across the state of Michigan, other American cities, counties and the senate floor. The American Public Health Association, National Association of County and City Health Officials and the American Academy of Pediatrics have all made the proclamation as well.
“The effort is to join with Ingham County and members of the state government in Michigan to declare racism as a public health crisis. That is the primary function of the resolution,” said trustee member Patricia Herring Jackson. “In our committing to this resolution, we are asking the board to join with these groups in taking this declaration as a mode of guiding all of the work we do in trying to improve the quality of life in our communities.”
With a unanimous vote from all 7 members in favor of its passing, racism has officially been declared as a public health crisis in Meridian Township. From there, proponents plan to push the decision to travel up through the rest of the state.
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