MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A committee of the Minnesota House of Representatives advanced a resolution on Tuesday declaring racism to be a public health crisis.
This comes not long after the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution saying the same, a resolution that followed weeks of unrest following the death of George Floyd, who died after a now-fired Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, held a knee down on Floyd’s neck for almost eight minutes.
The resolution was declared with the intention of making the House “an active participant” in dismantling systemic racism in the state of Minnesota.
“Black, Indigenous, and people of color have known for generations that the systems in this country were designed to exclude them,” Rep. Ruth Richardson (DFL-Mendota Heights) said. “The devastation we are seeing in our communities today is the result of those systems playing out for hundreds of years.”
When the Hennepin County commissioner board issued their resolution, it declared that Black, Indigenous, and other people of color in Hennepin County “statistically have poorer educational outcomes, earn less, and are less likely to own homes or have access to quality health care and jobs than White people.”
The board then concluded that the net result of these disparities is that minorities have lifelong health impacts, including higher disease rates.
The House committee said that racism is embedded in the foundations of America, all the way back to 1619 and the country’s centuries of slavery.
“The Minnesota House as an institution can and should play an active role in dismantling systems that have denied dignity, respect, and compassion to so many,” House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler said. “Our nation is facing a historic moment and the Minnesota House plans to be on the side of justice and human rights.”
The resolution would next go to a full vote on the House floor, likely next Monday.