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Connecticut's on the Cusp of Officially Declaring Racism a Public Health Crisis

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Is racism a public health crisis?

It is, according to a bill in Connecticut.

Here’s how SB00001 puts it:

It is hereby declared the policy of the state of Connecticut to recognize that racism is a public health crisis.

But good news — a group’s been formed to fight it:

There is established a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to examine racial disparities in public health. The Commission shall study institutional racism in the state’s laws and regulations impacting public health.

They may have a challenging time pinpointing systemic racism in the law; for all politicians’ talk of structural racism, so far as I know, they have yet to finger any particular such thing within a structure.

Perhaps that would require actual effort, so they’d rather just assure us it’s there without bothering to fix it.

Maybe Connecticut will, as they say, do the work.

More from the bill:

The commission shall study (1) institutional racism in the state’s laws and regulations impacting public health, (2) racial disparities in the state’s criminal justice system and the impact of such disparities on the health and well-being of individuals and families, including, but not limited to, overall health outcomes and rates of depression, suicide, substance use disorder and chronic disease, (3) racial disparities in access to healthy living resources, including, but not limited to, fresh food, produce, physical activity, public safety, clean air and clean water, (4) racial disparities in access to health care, (5) racial disparities in health outcomes in hospitals and long-term care facilities, including, but not limited to, nursing homes, and (6) the impact of zoning restrictions on the creation of housing disparities and the impact of such disparities on public health. The commission shall develop legislative proposals to address racial disparities in public health.

As reported by the CT Mirror, Republican state Rep. Kimberly Fiorello isn’t fond of the proposal.

She seems a bit hung up on its premise:

“I’m very concerned about this bill that comes out straightforwardly saying that all of us — everyone here, our whole state — has to accept as fact

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