COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Ohio federal and state lawmakers are renewing calls to declare racism a public health crisis just days after the CDC declared racism a “serious public health threat.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Black community has been disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus and during a press call on Wednesday, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) voiced concerns over the distribution of the vaccine.
Currently, despite making up around 13 percent of Ohio’s population, Black people make up just 6.5 percent of the state’s completed vaccinations.
“You can’t get to a vaccination because you don’t have adequate transportation,” said Ohio Rep. Erica Crawley (D-Columbus). “That is a problem and people’s health continues to be jeopardized because of that.”
Brown announced his intention to introduce a resolution to declare racism a public health crisis, something he said will bring light to the issue.
“The resolution itself isn’t going to make people well, but the resolution will encourage the public and the elected officials to move in ways we haven’t been effective we haven’t at this point,” Brown said.
At the state level, lawmakers have introduced a similar resolution. Crawley said this will help with research and education on how to best combat racism.
“We can’t look at addressing these issues head on until we acknowledge that there was even a problem and what perpetuated it,” she said.