New York City officially declared racism a public health crisis in the Big Apple on Monday, citing the United States’ history of slavery and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic experienced by minorities.
The resolution, approved by New York City’s Board of Health, urges city officials to put forward policy prescriptions aimed at tackling racism, specifically addressing “a racially just recovery from COVID-19, as well as other actions to address this public health crisis in the short and long term.”
“We must confront racism as a public health crisis. This pandemic magnified inequities, leading to suffering disproportionately borne by communities of color. But these inequities are not inevitable,” New York City Health Commissioner Dave Chokshi said.
We must confront racism as a public health crisis. The pandemic magnified inequities, leading to suffering disproportionately borne by communities of color. But these inequities are not inevitable. Today is an historic day for the country’s oldest Board of Health. https://t.co/nsAJlUqixG
— Commissioner Dave A. Chokshi, MD (@NYCHealthCommr) October 18, 2021
“We have chosen our words carefully this afternoon in presenting this to you as a resolution—rather than just a declaration—because we must be resolute,” Chokshi stated, according to The Gothamist. “We must resolve to take action beyond our recognition of the problem.”
The declaration comes amid opposition from Black Lives Matter against New York City’s coronavirus vaccine mandates, which the far-left activist organization has labeled racist. Hawk Newsome, co-founder and chairman of Black Lives Matter of Greater New York, has argued the mandates are racist due to the low rate of vaccination in the black community.
“I think, in a perfect world, [vaccine requirements] should be business by business. But it could be a slippery slope, so the mandate should be removed completely,” Newsome told the Washington Examiner. “It’s not gonna be white men in suits on Wall Street who are gonna get stopped. There’s such hypocrisy in this thing.”
In addition to New York City, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot declared racism a public health emergency back in June, prompting Windy City officials to direct roughly $10 million in coronavirus relief funds to create so-called Healthy Chicago Equity Zones.
“At almost every single point in our city’s history, racism has taken a devastating toll on the health and well-being of our residents of color – especially those who are Black,” Lightfoot said at the time. “Without formally acknowledging this detrimental impact, we will never be able to move forward as a city and fully provide our communities with the resources they need to live happy and healthy lives.”