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City Council Officially Declares Racism a Public Health Crisis

Communications and Public Affairs: 207-7234
Published on Thursday, August 20, 2020

City Council Officially Declares Racism a Public Health Crisis

CONTACT: Lou Miller, 210-771-1158
Matteo Treviño, 210-323-2835


SAN ANTONIO (August 20, 2020) — City Council voted 9-0-1 to officially declare racism a public health crisis in San Antonio and commit the City to advancing health equity.
“This is just the first step to dismantling the engraved history of racism here in our city. We are building on those things that make us stronger together,” said Councilwoman Andrews-Sullivan. “This resolution speaks to inclusivity and unity. We must speak healing, progression and uplifting our communities. Even though it is a step in the right direction, it means nothing if it becomes a shelved document or not put into action. Now is the time to say to our residents that we not only hear you, but we are here to do the work.”
“It is a blessing to still have my mother, it is a blessing to have a moment in history that she can see; that we will be the change. It has been a long time coming but now is the time; and we must invest in the lives of all san Antonio residents. Thank you to city staff, city council members, office of equity, metro health, and all our community advocates for drafting this most powerful resolution. Today we make history.”
“We will be the change we seek. It takes hard steps to make changes which speak to breaking strongholds, and generational systemic injustice, and this action is what we are accomplishing through this resolution.”
The resolution recognizes San Antonio’s history of segregation and redlining; the link between racism and negative health outcomes; and the health inequities experienced by Black, Latinx, and other people of color in San Antonio.
“Today’s action is long overdue,” said Councilwoman Ana Sandoval. “Just as it took 99 years of women’s suffrage to elect San Antonio’s first female-majority council, it’s taken us 102 years since the last pandemic to formally recognize that legacies of racism have created a public health crisis in our city. But now that we’ve recognized the problem, we can begin to solve it.”
Further, the resolution commits the City to advancing racial equity efforts by reviewing policies and procedures for the purposes of eradicating implicit and explicit racial bias, promoting policies and procedures that advance racial equity, and involving marginalized communities in the development of policy solutions for health equity, among other actions.
The resolution was a collaboration of the Districts 2 and 7, community members, the Office of Equity, Metro Health, and the City Manager’s Office.
My Brother’s Keeper, the Mexican American Civil Rights Institute, IDRA, YWCA, the San Antonio Community Health Workers Association of San Antonio, and United Communities of San Antonio all submitted letters of support.
The resolution is attached.

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