Health Care

Louisville mayor declares racism a public health crisis

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Louisville, Ky., Mayor Greg Fischer (D) on Tuesday announced an executive order declaring racism a public health crisis in the city.

“This order lays out in stark terms the societal, economic, physical and mental health impacts of racism on not just Black Louisville, but all the people of our city,” Fischer said during a Tuesday news conference.

“Of course, we can’t change America by ourselves, but we can show America how a city can change itself. We can channel the energy from the pain we’ve experienced and take ourselves from tragedy to transformation,” the mayor continued.

Louisville became a focal point for protests calling for racial justice and police reform earlier this year following the death of Breonna Taylor. Taylor was shot and killed by Louisville police officers in March as they executed a no-knock warrant at her home.

Fischer on Tuesday laid out a plan targeting seven areas for the city’s elected officials and residents, including public safety, support for children and families, Black employment, Black wealth, housing and neighborhood investment, health and voting.

The mayor’s office on Tuesday announced a slate of projects and initiatives within each of the categories, ranging from recruiting “a police chief to build a culture of guardianship and corresponding budget reallocation” for city law enforcement to assisting Black-owned businesses and providing additional COVID-19 “testing in the Black community.”

The order also calls for supporting mail-in ballot options for every election and the expansion of early voting in the city.  

A group of Democratic lawmakers earlier this year introduced legislation in Congress that would label racism as a nationwide public health crisis. The bill, dubbed the Anti-Racism in Public Health Act, was created by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Reps. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.). 

Louisville is not the first city to declare racism a public health crisis. Dozens of cities, counties and states across the country have also made the move to declare racism a public health issue, according to the American Public Health Association.

Tags Ayanna Pressley Barbara Lee Breonna Taylor Elizabeth Warren Kentucky Louisville Public health Racism

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