Declaration: Racism is a Public Health Emergency in Minneapolis

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We agree that Racism is a Public Health Emergency and commit to take urgent action because:

  • Race is a social construct and racism has various forms including historical, individual, internalized, interpersonal, institutional and systemic.
  • A multitude of studies connect racism to worse health outcomes and demonstrate that racism is a social determinant of health.
  • Experiencing day-to-day racism has a cumulative impact that can lead to dire health outcomes such as the development of coronary heart disease.
  • The impacts of racism compound other emergencies. 
  • Racism has a severe impact on African Americans (socially constructed category) including dying at disproportionately higher rates compared to all other races during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Structural racism has increased health and economic disparities for African Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Racism has increased towards Asian and Asian Americans (socially constructed category) including not being allowed into businesses, extreme loss of business, and attacks during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Minnesota residents experiences deeply traumatizing police violence.
  • Studies show that “getting killed by police is a leading cause of death for young black men in America” and that “police killings of unarmed black men were associated with an increase in mental health problems such as depression and emotional issues for black people living in the state where the killing took place.”
  • Minnesota has some of the most severe racial disparities in the U.S.A., ranking as one of the worst states for racial disparities in home ownership, poverty, median income, and obtaining a high school diploma. 
  • The City of Minneapolis Strategic and Racial Equity Action Plan states, “The City will operationalize a strategy to eliminate the disproportionate impact of violence in Black, Indigenous, People of Color communities.” 
  • The City of Minneapolis City Council definition of racial equity states, “The development of policies, practices and strategic investments to reverse racial disparity trends, eliminate institutional racism, and ensure that outcomes and opportunities for all people are no longer predictable by race.”
  • By declaring racism a public health emergency, the City of Minneapolis will recognize the severe impact of racism and allocate funding, staff, and additional resources to actively engage in racial equity and racial justice work.  Actions include but are not limited to the following:
    • Conduct an internal assessment of policies and procedures to prioritize racial equity with specification on how policies translate into anti-racist action towards City employees, constituents, and community members.
    • Work with equity and justice oriented organizations and stakeholders to incorporate anti-racism action on multiple levels (individual, department, city-wide).
    • Incorporate creative, educational, and embodied approaches to address trauma, improve health and dismantle racism.
    • Develop rapid responses to immediate needs and long term work to address systemic inequities. 

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