The Ventura County Board of Supervisors has unanimously approved a resolution declaring racism a public health crisis.
Spurred by the recent killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd — and by a nationwide history of discrimination and oppression against Black people, Indigenous people and other people of color — the resolution was the result of a months-long collaboration between county officials and community groups.
“This resolution demonstrates Ventura County’s commitment to the continuation of having difficult and uncomfortable conversations around race, justice and inequities,” Rabiah Rahman, vice president of Black Lawyers of Ventura County, said during last week’s meeting. “While it is not perfect, it is without a doubt a step in the right direction.”
The connection between racism and public health is well-documented, according to Dr. Stanley Patterson, who also spoke at the meeting. Patterson, a physician, said communities of color suffered from a systemic lack of access to affordable healthcare and health insurance, and from more insidious inequities, including a dearth of grocery stores and fresh produce markets that are commonly found in wealthier, more predominantly white neighborhoods.
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