U.S. Senators Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) reintroduced a Senate Resolution to declare racism a public health crisis. The senators previously introduced the resolution in April 2021.
Their resolution acknowledges the history of racism and discrimination within health care and the systemic barriers that people of color continue to face when seeking care. The resolution also highlights the effects of systemic racism on the health and wellness of communities of color, resulting in shorter life expectancy, worsened health outcomes, and enhanced exposure to harmful or dangerous environments. The resolution encourages concrete action to address health disparities and inequity across all sectors in society.
“Over generations, racism and its compounding impacts have harmed the health and well-being in communities of color across America,” said Senator Padilla. “Our resolution declaring that racism is a public health crisis is a first step toward bringing more attention to these deep-rooted inequities. And it must also serve as a catalyst in the urgent work to address these health disparities and deliver justice for millions of Americans.”
“We will not make progress until we acknowledge and address all of the ways that centuries of racism and oppression have harmed Black and brown Americans,” said Senator Brown. “This resolution is an important step toward recognizing the racial disparities in healthcare that have existed for far too long while also outlining concrete action we can take now to help reverse them. Though this resolution is not a solution in and of itself, it will help to lay the foundation for change that is continually subverted by and for the status quo. I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing this important resolution.”
“For too long, communities of color have suffered disproportionately from countless illnesses and conditions, from maternal and infant mortality to chronic diseases,” said Senator Booker. “These health inequities are the direct result of centuries of racist policies that have disenfranchised, disinvested, and disrespected Black, Indigenous, and other communities of color. Declaring racism a public health crisis is a crucial step toward addressing the deep-rooted and systemic inequities that continue to exacerbate health disparities in our nation.”
“For America to reach its full potential we must address the underlying racial injustices that remain deeply embedded in our nation, deepening wounds that have yet to be addressed,” said YWCA USA CEO, Margaret Mitchell. “The introduction of the resolution declaring racism a public health crisis lays the groundwork to continue building a more equitable future for people of color. YWCA applauds the introduction of this critical resolution and looks forward to working with Members of Congress to advance a public health approach that can effectively disrupt and end racial injustice in our communities.”
The resolution was cosponsored by Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Thomas R. Carper (D-Del.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.).
Full text of the resolution is available here.
A full list of Supporting Organizations is available here.