Senator Leyva Urges the State of California to Declare Racism a Public Health Crisis

Thursday, June 11, 2020

SACRAMENTO – Senator Connie M. Leyva (D-Chino) released the following statement regarding the importance of recognizing the pervasive public health impacts of racism:

“As we hear the righteous anger from communities across California in response to the death of George Floyd and the many others before him, it is critical that the scourge of racism be recognized for what it is: a public health crisis.  In a very real way, racism perpetuates disparities between whites and blacks in socioeconomic, health, education and practically all other measurable outcomes. Racism has a damaging impact on access to health care and other vital needs of individuals and communities in our state.  By clearly declaring racism a public health crisis and an ongoing threat to people of color—though particularly Black Americans—we will only then be able to truly address the systemic racism and discrimination that has oppressed millions of Californians throughout its history.”

“In response to much public input and appeals by the community, San Bernardino County leaders recently responded to the demands of people of all races and directed staff to draft a resolution declaring racism as a public health crisis.  As someone who has lived in San Bernardino County since I was a small child, I appreciate the important message this action would send.  By making a similar statewide public declaration, California would also solidify its commitment to ending racism across the state in all sectors, including jobs, education, housing and health care.  It is absolutely unacceptable that Black Americans are disproportionately more likely to drop out of school, live in a food desert, die from coronavirus or—as we have seen far too many times—be killed by law enforcement than whites.”

“In the coming weeks and months, I commit to continue working in Sacramento and across the 20th State Senate District to advance this important dialogue that will help communities of color by focusing on the needs of residents most impacted by this public health crisis.”