NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (WTNH) — On Wednesday, New Britain officials joined other Connecticut towns and cities in declaring racism as a public health crisis. The vote was unanimous from the City Council.
“I have dealt with racism and I understand how it has affected me personally, so I am really glad that we are putting forth this resolution,” said New Britain Alderman Ivan Osborn Wednesday.
On Tuesday, West Hartford officially voted in favor of that declaration. The Town Council met for hours virtually to vote on the resolution. It claims communities of color are more likely to suffer from health issues because of racism impacting all areas of life. Those areas range from economic stability to access to healthcare.
“Justice is needed for Black people and the time is now,” Councilwoman Carol Blanks said. “We can no longer continue and pretend that it’s not happening…It’s emotional, it’s psychological, it impacts health. Studies have led to cardiovascular disease, a high proportionate rate in the Black and brown community for diabetes, premature heart attacks. I can go on and on.”
Several communities across the state have already approved similar resolutions.
Following Windsor‘s unanimous call to declare racism a public health crisis, other towns and cities in Connecticut are stepping up to do the same. Hartford and Bloomfield met Monday to consider similar resolutions to oppose racism. Both made the declaration Monday evening.
But those governments that moved in this direction say this is not just symbolic. They say it has policy implications.
Windsor takes pride in being the first town in Connecticut, so when the Town Council unanimously adopted a resolution declaring racism a public health emergency, officials said they wanted it to set an example for all 169 cities and towns.
At least ten local governments across the country have moved in this direction. They say the police brutality and COVID-19 impact on minority communities are interrelated. Advocates say these orders demonstrate a commitment to advancing racial equity, including health disparities.
WEB EXTRA: Cato T. Laurencin, M.D., PH.D. of UConn Heath speaks to racism as a public health crisis and disparities in healthcare