Minneapolis City Council Declares Racism a ‘Public Health Emergency’

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JULY 04: Demonstrators carry chains during the Black 4th protest in downtown on July 4, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. A number of protest demonstrations occurred around the Twin Cities on Independence Day which were critical of the annual American celebration. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

The Minneapolis City Council on Friday approved a resolution declaring racism a “public health emergency” in the Democrat-controlled city following civil unrest triggered by the death of George Floyd.

The resolution reads that “racism in all its forms causes persistent discrimination and disparate outcomes in many areas of life, including housing, education, health, employment, public safety and criminal justice; exacerbated further by the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.”

The resolution pledges for Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey (D) and the city’s council members to address the “the severe impact of racism on the well-being of residents and city overall and allocate funding, staff, and additional resources to actively engage in racial equity in order to name, reverse, and repair the harm done to BIPOC.”

Below is a list of action items the resolution promises to address:

  • Center the voices, work, and leadership of the communities most directly affected by said racism.
  • Provide support to the Racial Equity Community Advisory Committee to conduct and implement an internal evaluation of the City Charter as well as all City policies and procedures to prioritize racial equity with specification on how policies translate into anti-racist action towards City employees, constituents, and community members.
  • Address our criminal justice system to stop the profiling and harm done to BIPOC. This includes but is not limited to decarceration and reserving arrest only for violent and other major crimes and easing and dismissing cash bail.
  • Build and implement a comprehensive public safety system that decentralizes BIPOC over-policing and criminalization and is rooted in the public health approach to keep BIPOC communities disproportionately impacted by community violence safe. 
  • Develop a comprehensive rapid response protocol to immediate needs and long-term work to address systemic inequities. This includes activating the Office of Emergency Management and Incident Command System, the Health Department, the Division of Race & Equity, and other public facing departments to respond to community stress and trauma.
  • Measure the effectiveness of City programming and the return on investment of public dollar allocations in the budget toward advancing racial equity and reporting these results annually.
  • Allocate dollars in the City budget to be directed toward small business development, housing, community-based infrastructure, and other amenities to reverse and repair the harm experienced by BIPOC. This includes making land and housing affordable for BIPOC, prioritizing BIPOC in redevelopment efforts, and ensuring that these communities are not displaced in neighborhood revitalization efforts. 
  • Establish a long-term sustainable source of City of Minneapolis funding that will restore and increase the availability of high-quality youth development programming for BIPOC youth and young adults with inclusion of a strategic plan to improve program quality and evaluate the impact and reach. 
  • Develop and implement an annual report with racially disaggregated data on the health of Minneapolis BIPOC, including recommendations for actions to eliminate any disparities and improve overall health. 
  • Build a workplace culture that promotes racialized repair, cross-cultural relationships, upholds the sacredness of caucus spaces for building community, and shifts the burden of addressing racism off BIPOC.

“Systemic racism is among the greatest long-term threats our city and nation are facing, and the last two months have made that reality painfully clear,” Mayor Frey said in a statement. “For Minneapolis to be a place where everyone can live and thrive, we must recognize this crisis for what it is and approach policymaking with the urgency it deserves.”

The development comes after lawyers for George Floyd’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Minneapolis and the fired police officers charged in Floyd’s death.

Last month, the Minneapolis City Council unanimously approved a pledge to seek the replacement of its police department with a community-led public safety system, bowing to pressure from Black Lives Matter activists and far-left Democrats to defund law enforcement.

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