Cook County Commissioner Dennis Deer and the Cook County Board of Commissioners Pass Resolution Declaring Racism and Racial Inequalities a Public Health Crisis in Cook County

woman outdoors stretching

CHICAGO, IL – On Thursday, July 25, 2019, 2nd District Commissioner Dennis Deer and the Cook  County Board of Commissioners pass resolution item #19-4285 Declaring Racism and Racial Inequalities a Public Health Crisis in Cook County.   

The promotion of healthy communities directly relates to the health of individuals, and encourages expanding public health support networks to decrease racial disparities in health outcomes; and, communities of color are disproportionally impacted by social detriments to health, such as: increased exposure to lead; poor air quality; lack of safe places to walk, bike, run, live, and inadequate health education. 

“With the disparities in life expectancy simply based on the difference in zip code and the overall health disparity of people of color, I am thankful that my colleagues on the County Board saw the necessity for the passing of this resolution” – Commissioner Dennis Deer (2nd County District) 

“Racial equity is a top priority of my administration,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. “This why I created the Racial Equity Leadership Council to address ways we increase diversity and address racial inequities across the county. I commend Commissioner Deer for his leadership.”

“Racism is not confined to a tweet. Racism is often time carried out in policy.” – Commissioner Brandon Johnson (1st County District) 

“One of our most important roles as Commissioners is to shine a light on those not seen and give voice to those not heard.” – Commissioner Bill Lowry (3rd County District)

“Experiencing Racism in Healthcare is something that I have lived personally and professionally. I have seen firsthand the racial disparities that exist in healthcare. I applaud Commissioner Deer for raising this issue and making sure we all are focused on it.” Commissioner Donna Miller (6th County District)

“I commend Commissioner Deer’s leadership on introducing this important resolution. It’s time we take actionable steps to tackle man-made inequalities caused by generations of systemic racism” – Commissioner Alma Anaya (7th County District)   

“A person’s life outcomes and success should never be determined by where you were born,” said Commissioner Scott Britton (D-14). “Sadly, this is still very much the case and we need to be addressing those systemic inequalities with the same precision we would for any illness. No matter where you live, what your socioeconomic status is, or who your parents are, we all deserve access to clean air and water, to fresh and healthy food, to affordable and quality health care, to suitable and safe housing, and to fulfilling educational and employment opportunities.”

“Black women experience a maternal morbidity rate 6 times higher than white women in IL. We must do better for black mothers. Black, transgender women face violence and are murdered at a rate that has led to the American Medical Association calling the violence “an epidemic”. The numbers are staggering and we must do better for black, trans women. In both of these cases, it is clear that systemic racism is an immediate public health crisis. This crisis is even more dire when racism intersects with other systems of oppression such as misogyny, homophobia, and transphobia.”

 – Commissioner Kevin Morrison (15th County District.

Additional Supporters included,  Rev. Janette Wilson with the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, Cliff Nellis Executive Director of the Lawndale Christian Legal Center, Donald Dew of Habilitative Systems Inc., Dr. Carolyn Vessel Executive Director I AM ABLE, George Williams of Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities, Rodney Brown of New Covenant Community Development Corporation, Chaundra Van Dyk-McGee of the North Lawndale Employment Network.