The governors of both Nevada and Michigan declared racism a public health crisis this week, following a similar move taken by Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) over the summer.
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) signed a proclamation Wednesday, declaring racism a public health crisis in the state. He described the move as a “proactive approach.”
“Institutional and systemic racism has gone on far too long in this country and in this state,” Sisolak said. “Based on research, we are taking a proactive approach in joining fellow leaders around the country to declare racism as a public health crisis.”
Today, I issued a proclamation to name racism as a public health crisis. Given our diverse population as a minority, majority state, this call to action raises awareness so Nevada does not perpetuate poor health outcomes due to systemic racism during & after the pandemic. pic.twitter.com/vKSoU2knqR
— Governor Sisolak (@GovSisolak) August 6, 2020
A release detailing the move states that the Chinese coronavirus pandemic has “magnified the challenges caused by racial disparities within Nevada’s communities, especially in the form of virus and environmental exposure risks, and through all major stages of health care.”
The governor added that he is looking forward to working with leaders, as well as the Office of Minority Health and Equity, on the “critical issue.”
Similarly, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) signed an order Wednesday, which calls for the creation of a Black Leadership Advisory Council to “elevate” black voices. She is also urging the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to have employees undergo “implicit bias training.”
“Today, I also signed an executive directive declaring racism as a public health crisis in Michigan,” the governor said on Wednesday.
“We have a lot of work to do to eradicate the systemic racism that black Americans have faced for generations, and it’s going to take time. But the most important thing we can do during this time is work closely with leaders across the state, in every community, to find the root cause of problems and work to eradicate them,” Whitmer continued.
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) formally declared racism a public health crisis in June.
“We cannot look away from the reality that inaction, indifference and institutional racism has harmed generations of black and brown Wisconsinites,” he said at the time.
“We have an opportunity now to fix some wrongs that have been longstanding for decades,” Evers said, urging state lawmakers to “pass a Democratic bill that would place restrictions on use-of-force techniques for law enforcement officers,” according to PBS Wisconsin.
Colorado has also moved to declare racism a public health crisis, the Denver Post reported.
Joe Biden (D), the Democrat Party’s presumptive nominee, fanned the flames of racial unrest last month after describing President Donald Trump as the “first” racist president:
Biden says Trump is America's first racist president: "We’ve had racists, and they’ve existed, they’ve tried to get elected president. He’s the first one that has.” pic.twitter.com/BbOG3GgXvq
— The Recount (@therecount) July 22, 2020
Biden’s senior adviser Symone Sanders attempted to soften the former vice president’s remark, telling NBC News, “There have been a number of racist American presidents, but Trump stands out … because he made running on racism and division his calling card and won.”
She added that Trump “deliberately foments both, intentionally causing indescribable pain because he thinks it advantages him politically.”
Notably, Biden faced intense backlash in May after making a racially-charged remark during an appearance on The Breakfast Club, telling listeners, “If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.”