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While the COVID-19 pandemic has topped more than 10,000 confirmed cases in San Bernardino County, the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday declared it was the first California county to actively recognize another public health crisis: racism.

By a 5-0 vote Tuesday, the board adopted a resolution “affirming that racism [is] a public health crisis that results in disparities in family stability, health and mental wellness, education, employment, economic development, public safety, criminal justice and housing.”

“This is historic for San Bernardino County in taking the first step,” said Board Chairman Curt Hagman. “We’re probably the only county we have in California, so far, doing this, and this is the beginning of what we’re doing. This is not the end result.”

The resolution identified racism resulting in the “structuring of opportunity and assigning of value based solely on skin color and other physical characteristics, which creates unfair disadvantages to some individuals and communities and unfair advantages to other individuals and communities, therefore preventing societies as a whole from achieving their full potential.”

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