Greg Fischer, the mayor of Louisville, Kentucky, recommended that the city’s Metro Council pass a resolution declaring racism a public health crisis on Wednesday.
In a release provided to CNN, Fischer expressed his desire to partner with the Council to jointly condemn racism beyond an executive order or ordinance that he could otherwise enact on his own.
“Identifying and working to eliminate structural racism has been a priority for me and my team for over a decade, but there’s much more to be done,” Fischer said. “Now, as we see people in our streets and in streets across the nation demanding fundamental change, we must have a new sense of urgency to make this declaration and do the hard work of dismantling racism and creating real transformation. I look forward to partnering with Council on this work.”
Two members of Fischer’s administration – Kendall Boyd, chief equity officer, and T Gonzales, director of the Center for Health Equity – spoke before the Council on Wednesday to attest to the need for a resolution. Boyd spoke about how “minority populations are disproportionately exposed to conditions such as concentrated poverty, racism, limited educational and occupational opportunities, and other aspects of social and economic disadvantages that contribute to poor health outcomes, including heightened exposure to violence,” according to the release.
Gonzales cited a list of 11 “root causes” that lead to inequitable health incomes, including employment and income gaps and transportation challenges.
“Racism is bad for everyone’s health,” Gonzales said in the release. “We need significant and quick action to make sure everyone in Louisville has what they need to thrive.”
Three Black councilwomen also expressed support for such a measure in Louisville, which has become a focal point of the Black Lives Matter movement since the police-involved shooting death of Breonna Taylor on March 13.
Boyd said after the meeting that the administration’s next step would be to draft a resolution declaring “Racism as a Public Health Crisis” for Council consideration, the release said.