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'It is literally killing us': Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot declares racism a 'public health emergency'

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has now declared racism to be a “public health emergency” and, in doing so, is able to reallocate COVID-19 resources to minority communities.


Todd Feurer writes for CBS Chicago:

Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Thursday declared systemic racism a public health crisis in Chicago, saying disparities in access to effective and affordable health care, the impact of racism on the mental health of people of color, and the subsequent difference in life expectancy “is literally killing us.”

“When we think about racism, many of us think about it in visible and audible forms, but the reality is the insidious nature of systemic racism has other impacts that are every bit as deep and harmful, but often ones that we can’t see, like the impacts on the psyche and other impacts on our bodies that are just as, if not more deadly,” Lightfoot said.

When Lightfoot talks about systemic racism, it seems to manifest itself in unequal health outcomes, such as diabetes, homicides, and opioid-related overdose deaths. Also, black and Latinx people lack “safe spaces to exercise [and] access to nutritious food.” So, she’s going to divert $9.6 million in COVID-19 relief funds to create “Healthy Chicago Equity Zones.”


Yes, she actually said she’d only do one-on-one interviews with black or brown journalists. But that was to increase inclusion.


“Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said … the homicide rate among Blacks in Chicago is nine times higher than among non-blacks.”

“There is nothing natural about these statistics. They are unjust and they are preventable,” she said.


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