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Douglas Co. Board of Health declares racism a public health crisis

Posted at 10:53 AM, Jun 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-17 13:10:25-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — On Wednesday, Douglas County Health officials debated if racism is an official health concern.

The county health board passed a resolution declaring racism as a public health crisis, citing dozens of studies on the issue. Part of the resolution discusses how racism in Douglas County has contributed to a health divide and disparities that lead to poorer health conditions and more premature deaths in minority communities.

It comes after protests in several parts of the city, which were initially sparked by the death of George Floyd while in police custody. The county says they are 100 percent on board with helping make the needed changes but Omaha City Council member Ben Gray said it's just a small step in the right direction.

“I’ve been here too many times before, where we continue to talk about this and we pass resolutions and we pass various items that we think is eventually going to get at it... get at this persistent issue of racism,” said Gray. “At some point, we are really going to get at it. It is going to take a massive effort to turn this around. This has been 400 years in the making.”

The board also addressed the current state of the coronavirus in the county and where we stand in terms of a vaccine, which is being fast-tracked by multiple companies.