Updated Jun 18, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Cities declare racism a public health crisis

 A protester shouts "Black Lives Matter" during a rain storm in front of Lafayette Park next to the White House, Washington, DC
Protesters in front of Lafayette Park near the White House in Washington, D.C., this month. Photo: Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images

Cities and counties across the U.S. have declared racism a public health crisis or have drafts awaiting votes and final decisions.

Why it matters: The trend follows almost three weeks of protests sparked by the police killing of George Floyd, as nationwide protesters demand action from their elected officials.

"'It is Milwaukee County's responsibility to address racism, including seeking solutions to reshape the discourse, actively engaging all citizens in racial justice work. Local government needs to take a leadership role and we intend to do so."
ā€” County Executive Chris Abele in a statement, per WBUR

The state of play: Milwaukee was the first city in the country to declare racism a public health crisis, CBS reports. The city was named the most segregated in the country by the Census Bureau in 2017.

  • Boston became last Friday one of the largest cities to declared racism a public health crisis, with Mayor Marty Walsh announcing plans to reallocate $3 million from the police department's budget to put toward public health, per NPR.
  • More declarations were made this week, with Charlotte, North Carolina, among the latest to do so on Wednesday.

Racism has been declared a public health crisis in:

Go deeper: Minneapolis city council official calls for racism to be declared a public health emergency

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