Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele signs resolution declaring racism a public health crisis

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Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele

On Monday, May 20, 2019, County Executive Chris Abele joined Supervisor Marcelia Nicholson, Supervisor Supreme Moore Omokunde and the Office on African American Affairs (OAAA) to sign a resolution declaring racism a public health crisis. The resolution builds on the county’s efforts to ensure racial equity is part of the public discourse and in the decision making process.

“Racism is a public health crisis, and we have a moral imperative to put our indifference aside in the face of injustice,” said County Executive Chris Abele. “The resolution builds on the county’s approach to advance equitable practices – from health care to housing to economic stability. The measures we are taking will ensure every resident in every neighborhood benefits.”

“It is crucial to acknowledge the presence of systemic racism in Milwaukee County,” said Supervisor Marcelia Nicholson. “When we acknowledge that it exists and work towards dismantling it, we as a community can begin to heal each other and move forward towards long-lasting prosperity.”

The resolution was introduced by the County Executive and Supervisor Nicholson, and co-sponsored by Supervisor Supreme Moore Omokunde and Supervisor Deanna Alexander. The resolution holds the county to:

• Assess internal policies and procedures to make sure racial equity is a core element of the county;
• Work to create an inclusive organization and identify specific activities to increase diversity;
• Incorporate inclusion and equity, and offer educational training to expand employees’ understanding of how racism affects people;
• Advocate for policies that improve health in communities of color; and
• Encourage other local, state and national entities to recognize racism as a public health crisis.

The resolution supports the county’s commitment to racial equity and changing systems and institutions that affect community health. Across the country, racism has been linked to a number of health problems, including high infant and maternal mortality rates for African Americans. The resolution builds on the county’s approach to promote equitable practices to ensure all residents have access to safe health care solutions.

Under the County Executive’s leadership, OAAA was created in 2016 to initiate a long-term effort to improve the condition of Milwaukee’s African American community. By 2019, OAAA will train more than 5,500 employees in racial equity.

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