Group Calls on Council: Declare Racism an Emergency

Group Calls on Council: Declare Racism an Emergency

The Alameda Sun received a copy of this resolution
Dear Community,
Please join People Power Alameda in demanding the Alameda City Council Declare Racism a Public Health Emergency.
Resolution Declaring Racism a Public Health Emergency

WHEREAS, race is a social construct with no biological basis; and 

WHEREAS, racism is a root cause of poverty and constricted economic mobility; and 

WHEREAS, racism is a social sytem with multiple dimensions: individual racism that is internalized or interpersonal; systemic racism that is institutional or structural, and is a system of structuring opportunity and assigning value based on the social interpretation of how one looks; and 

WHEREAS, racism unfairly disadvantages specific individuals and communities, while unfairly giving advantages to other individuals and communities, and saps the strength of the whole society through the waste of human resources, and the City of Alameda’s collective prosperity depends upon the equitable access to opportunity for every resident regardless of the color of their skin; and 

WHEREAS, racism causes persistent discrimination and disparate outcomes in many areas of life, including housing, education, employment and criminal justice; and an emerging body of research demonstrates that racism itself is a social determinant of health; and 

WHEREAS, Black people are disproportionately impacted by the policing and criminal justice system. One-third of people arrested in the City of

Alameda are Black, even though Black people only comprise 7% of the city’s population, 11.2% of the population in Alameda County, and 6.5% in California; and one in every 1,000 black men and boys can expect to be killed by police in this country, a fatality rate 2.8 times higher than whites; and

WHEREAS The same broad-sweeping structural racism that enables police brutality against people who are Black is also responsible for higher mortality among Black Americans with COVID-19; and  

WHEREAS, the Alameda City Council acknowledges that communities of color - and specifically Black communities - have borne the burdens of inequitable social, environmental, economic, and criminal justice policies, practices and investments; and understands that the legacy of these inequitable policies has caused deep disparities, harm, and mistrust; and recognizes that racial equity is realized when and only when race can no longer be used to predict life outcomes; and 

WHEREAS, racism and segregation exacerbate a health divide resulting in Black residents having the lowest life expectancies of any racial group in Alameda County.  Black residents also suffer disproportionately from infant mortality, lower birth weights, obesity, asthma, diabetes, heart disease and strokes;

WHEREAS, communities of color, and specifically Black people, are more likely to experience poor health outcomes as a consequence of their social determinants of health — health inequities stemming from economic stability, education, physical environment, housing, food and access to health care systems. 

As an example, many studies link lack of housing  to poor health outcomes. Black residents experience a higher burden of unaffordable housing, evictions, and homelessness than white residents, comprising 47 percent of unhoused residents in Alameda County despite only making up 11 percent of the population;  and 

WHEREAS, more than 100 studies have linked racism to worse health outcomes: and now, 
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that upon adoption of this resolution, the Alameda  City Council:
1. Declares that racism is a public health emergency and a crisis affecting our entire city. 

2. Denounces in the strongest possible terms the actions and inactions of the police officers that led to the recent assault on and arrest of Mr. Mali Watkins here in Alameda and those nationally that resulted in the recent high-profile deaths of people including George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. 

3. Commits to do our part to ensure that the City of Alameda is diverse, inclusive, equitable and just, by taking actions to:

4. Transform Alameda City government to provide all Alamedans, especially people who are Black and people of color, with physical and mental health care, affordable and fair housing opportunities, education, transportation services, job opportunities, physical safety, and financial means and 

5. Center the voices of Black people and people of color in changing our systems.

6. Build partnerships with other levels of government, businesses, nonprofits and community organizations needed to become an equitable and just community, 

7. Work to progress as an equity and justice-oriented government, to identify specific activities to further enhance diversity, equity and inclusion and to ensure antiracist principles are integrated across all City government policies and services. 

8. Conduct and make publicly available an assessment of all City policies and procedures, starting with the 2020 annual budget process, to ensure racial justice and equity are core elements of city government.

9. Establish an independent Civilian Police Oversight System aimed at dismantling any and all racist policies and practices, white hegemony, white normativity, white privilege, and white supremacy culture that exists within the police department. Condemn any and all police brutality.

10. Establish a crisis intervention program to divert calls for emergency services away from the police and towards crisis intervention programs that are well-suited to handle mental health emergencies. 

11. Promote equity and justice through all policies and enhance educational efforts aimed at understanding, addressing and dismantling racism and how it affects delivery of human and social services, economic development and public safety. 

12 Continue to advocate locally for relevant policies that improve health in communities of color, and supports local, state, regional, and federal initiatives that advance efforts to dismantle systemic racism. 

13. Commit to public accountability by providing on a regular basis measures of equity for health, housing, education, transportation, jobs, public safety, income and wealth that are transparent and inclusive and include reporting data by race/ethnicity, gender and vulnerable neighborhoods and other components, such as age and status as a renter, of the City’s Social Vulnerability Index in the CARP (Climate Action and Resiliency Plan). 

14. Further work to solidify alliances and partnerships with organizations that are confronting racism and encourage other local, state, regional and national entities to recognize racism as a public health crisis. 

15. Support community efforts to amplify issues of racism and engage with communities of color actively and authentically. 

16. Promote and support policies that prioritize the health of all people, especially Black people and people of color by mitigating exposure to adverse childhood experiences. 

17. Appoint an Equity and Racial Justice Assistant City Manager to oversee work to progress as an equity and justice-oriented government responsible for ensuring compliance of all City departments with equity regulations and direct management of all grant applications, public affairs and economic development. 

18. Encourage racial equity and anti-racism training among all community partners, grantees, vendors and contractors.
Signatures in solidarity: