Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot Declares Racism a ‘Public Health Emergency,’ Diverts $10M in Coronavirus Funds to Boost ‘Equity’

lori lightfoot
Anthony Vazquez/Chicago Sun-Times via AP, File

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) declared racism a “public health emergency” on Thursday and promised to divert $10 million in coronavirus relief to create “equity zones,” the Daily Mail reported.

“Ladies and gentlemen, it is literally killing us,” Lightfoot said during a news conference in front of the an exhibit honoring Martin Luther King Jr. in the West Side of Chicago.

Lightfoot made the announcement following a report from the city public health department, which found that non-black residents live to be 80.6 years on average, while black residents on average live 71.4 years.

The racial life-expectancy gap in Chicago — which has had Democrat mayors since 1931 — is driven by factors including homicide, chronic disease, infant mortality, infections like HIV, influenza and coronavirus, and opioid overdoses, according to city data.

Lightfoot, who is two years into her first term, will use $9.6 million if coronavirus funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to “improve wellness and public health,” within the designated “Healthy Chicago Equity Zones,” according to the Daily Mail. The city’s department of public health recommended that officials:

  • Increase awareness of the health needs facing Black Chicagoans and promote understanding of what equity means
  • Actively engage communities in planning and decision making in developing health equity solutions
  • Demand increased funding for community assets, programs and services
  • Acknowledge the role of racism — both individual and systemic — and address the impact it has on the health of the Black community

“But the reality is, the insidious nature of systemic racism has other impacts that are every bit as deep and harmful but are often ones we can’t see, like impacts on the psyche and other impacts on our bodies that are just as, if not more, deadly,” Lightfoot said, not acknowledging the hundreds of homicides and thousands of shootings that occur in black Chicago neighborhoods ever year.

Chicago crime data shows that in 2021 alone, a murder occurs every 12 hours and 56 minutes, with 82.8 percent of victims and assailants recorded as black. At least 312 people have been murdered in the city so far this year, and 792 were killed in 2020 — which is a 53 percent increase from 2019.

Lightfoot’s leadership has been under fire recently after she publicly said she would only grant interviews with black and brown journalists to mark her two-year anniversary as mayor, Breitbart News previously reported. Since then, the Daily Caller News Foundation and Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit against Lightfoot after she refused to grant white reporter Thomas Catenacci an interview.

The Chicago Tribune released an email this week that Lightfoot sent to a staffer in January in which she repeated sentences up to 16 times to “get her message across,” the Daily Mail reported.

Chicago is not the first city to establish “equity” zones in at attempt to combat overarching “systemic racism.” Cities to label racism as a ‘”public health crisis” or take similar action include Milwaukee County in Wisconsin, Denver; Columbus, Ohio; and Boston.


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