COLUMBUS (WCMH) — This week, members of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus introduced a resolution to declare racism a public health crisis in Ohio.
“It absolutely is a life or death issue,” said President of OLBC, Rep. Stephanie Howse, (D) Cleveland.
Early in the week, the City of Columbus declared racism a public health crisis but the Ohio legislature would be the first general assembly to do so.
“It’s a step toward getting true justice and equality for all Ohioans and not just a select few,” said Howse.
The resolution lays out 16 guidelines for the state. These include asserting that racism is a public health crisis, making educational efforts to address racism, and committing to review ordinances with a “racial equity lens”.
Governor Mike DeWine has stopped short of saying he would support the resolution but on Tuesday, he said he would be reaching out to the general assembly to work on the issues of race inequality.
“Race is certainly a factor in all kinds of health, education, and economic disparities,” said DeWine.
The resolution has received mixed reviews from lawmakers. Urbana Rep. Nino Vitale (R) said he is concerned how a public health crisis would be handled.
“To declare something a healthcare crisis appears to me as if they want to put things in the hands of Dr. Acton like we’ve done for the past 11 weeks,” Vitale said. “That hasn’t worked out so well.”