HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - In a joint resolution on Tuesday, the Virginia General Assembly declared that racism is a public health crisis.
Joint Resolution 537 passed after the state NAACP lobbied the Virginia General Assembly to make the resolution a priority.
Moving forward, the idea is to lay the groundwork to create a new policy, which the NAACP hopes will level the playing field in the areas of health care, housing and policing, among a long list of disparities.
The group said racism has created a clear and present danger to the health and well-being of minorities.
Gaylene Kanoyton, Hampton NAACP President, said, “This is an important first step. It focuses on the systems and structures rather than dismiss inequalities as a fault of individuals. This is huge for us; this was a priority.”
She explained why racism is a public health crisis, stating, “These bad policies affect our health. If you think about it, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, the whole nine yards, fall under our environment because of the foundation that policies are made on that is against us.”
The state NAACP is now urging Governor Northam to approve the resolution.