Councilwoman Shake proposed resolution ‘Racism as a Public Health Emergency’

Draft Resolution:  Racism as a Public Health Emergency:

WHEREAS, racism is a social system with multiple dimensions: individual racism that is interpersonal and/or internalized or systemic racism that is institutional or structural, and is a system of structuring opportunity and assigning value based on the social interpretation of how one looks;

WHEREAS race is a social construct with no biological basis;

WHEREAS racism unfairly disadvantages specific individuals and communities, while unfairly giving advantages to other individuals and communities, and saps the strength of the whole society through the waste of human resources;

WHEREAS racism is a root cause of poverty and constricts economic mobility;

WHEREAS racism causes persistent discrimination and disparate outcomes in many areas of life, including housing, education, employment, and criminal justice, and is itself a social determinant of health;

WHEREAS racism and segregation have exacerbated a health divide resulting in people of color in Connecticut bearing a disproportionate burden of illness and mortality including COVID-19 infection and death, heart disease, diabetes, and infant mortality;

WHEREAS Black, Native American, Asian and Latino residents are more likely to experience poor health outcomes as a consequence of inequities in economic stability, education, physical environment, food, and access to health care and these inequities are, themselves, a result of racism;

WHEREAS more than 100 studies have linked racism to worse health outcomes; and
WHEREAS the collective prosperity and well-being of Stratford  residents depends upon equitable access to opportunity for every resident regardless of the color of their skin:

Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the Town Council of Stratford

  1. Assert that racism presents a public health crisis affecting residents of Stratford
  2. Commit to progress the Town of Stratford as an equity and justice-oriented municipal organization, by continuing to identify specific activities to enhance diversity and to ensure anti-racism principles across our municipal governance and throughout our community
  3. Promote equity through all policies approved by the Town of Stratford through its municipal governance and enhance educational efforts aimed at identifying, addressing and dismantling racism and how it affects the delivery of human and social services, economic development and public safety
  4. Improve the quality of the data collected by the Town of Stratford and the analysis of that data—it is not enough to assume that an initiative is producing its intended outcome, qualitative and quantitative data should be used to assess inequities in impact and continuously improve;
  5. Continue to advocate locally for relevant policies that improve health in communities of color, and support local, state, regional, and federal initiatives that advance efforts to dismantle systemic racism;
  6. Further work to solidify alliances and partnerships with other organizations that are confronting racism and encourage other local, state, regional, and national entities to recognize racism as a public health crisis;
  7. Support community efforts to amplify issues of racism and engage actively and authentically with communities of color wherever they live; and
  8. Identify clear goals and objectives, including periodic reports to the Town of Stratford Administration and its Town Council, to assess progress and capitalize on opportunities to further advance racial equity.
The attached document originates from the CT based non-profit Health Equity Solutions. It includes partial substantiating documentation, and references to the dozens of Connecticut municipalities & counties who have already implemented a resolution that acknowledges “racism is a public health emergency”.