Oakland, Calif. declares that racism is a public health emergency

Oakland has declared racism a public health emergency in California.

NewsEditor
NewsEditor
13 June 2022 Monday 15:42
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Oakland, Calif. declares that racism is a public health emergency

Oakland has declared racism a public health emergency in California.

The Oakland City Council unanimously declared the public health emergency last week and pledged to support racial equity through studies and other actions.

"Just because we are supposed to be progressive doesn't mean we don't have history of disenfranchisement or systemic racism that is embedded within our city services, our culture," Carroll Fife, a Councilmember, stated during Tuesday's council meeting.

Additionally, the resolution allocates up to $350,000 to the city budget to pay for a data analyst as well as consulting services for the government to help it work on "necessary improvement in systems for collecting data to track equity progress and performance."

Darlene Flynn was the executive director of the city’s department of equity and race. She stated in an interview with KRON 4 that the COVID-19 epidemic made racial inequalities across the country and Oakland more apparent.

Flynn stated that the stressors can also exacerbate communities already suffering from racial inequities. This is something we've seen in other disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina. "When a major stressor strikes a community it really highlights the underlying conditions for a long period."

Similar steps have been taken in other cities. Marty Walsh, the then-Boston mayor, declared racism a public crisis in the summer 2020 and allocated $3 million from the city’s police department to public safety.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director called racism a serious threat to public health last year.

Flynn's agenda report and that of other city officials shows that Oakland residents of color are more likely to have poorer health outcomes then their white counterparts.

According to the report, people who live in North Oakland hills aEUR", a historically white area, live on average 14-15 years longer than those who live in West Oakland or East Oakland flatlands.

Officials added that there were similar disparities between Black Oaklanders, their white peers, in preventable hospitalizations rates, rates of diabetes and asthma, heart disease, death due to opioid overdose, deaths rates, and infant mortality rates.

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