Richmond City Council Declares Racism A Public Health Crisis

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The city council in the capital of Virginia has declared racism a public health crisis, following similar action taken earlier in the year by state lawmakers.

The Richmond City Council unanimously passed the declaration on Monday, the first locality in the state to take such action, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported Thursday. The American Public Health Association says on its web page that 217 entities have declared racism a public health crisis, and the newspaper said Richmond is the first Virginia locality to adopted such a declaration.

Richmond’s resolution sets out a 10-point plan that includes the implementation of new laws and policies and anti-racism training for city officials and employees. It also points to public outreach efforts and partnerships with community organizations.

The resolution also cites the council’s creation of a task force to establish a police oversight and accountability board as part of the city’s anti-racism efforts.

In May, the City Council adopted a resolution declaring gun violence a health crisis.

Officials are hoping the declarations will be a springboard for action and accountability. Council members will soon consider a proposal introduced Monday that would declare a climate and ecological emergency in Richmond.