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2 San Diego County supervisors declare racism a ‘public health crisis’

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The San Diego County Administration Building. (Salvador Rivera/Border Report)

SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — San Diego County Supervisors Nathan Fletcher and Nora Vargas have issued a resolution declaring racism as a public health crisis in San Diego.

They insist “changes in our institutional systems must occur for the County of San Diego to be anti-racist and combat historic inequities.”

“There are historic health, social, economic, and criminal justice disparities, as well as bold actions that can be taken to substantially transform our county values, policies, practices, and community engagement to be more inclusive, responsive and anti-racist,” according to the resolution.

Fletcher and Vargas, both Democrats, are asking the full board of supervisors to go along with their ideas. They will take up the matter on Tuesday.

“In declaring racism as a public health crisis, we are acknowledging that racism underpins the health inequities throughout the region,” Fletcher said. “So much of the division we face as a society is the result of intentional government policies put in place to perpetuate systemic racism. The only way you address it is to come back with intentional government policies designed to dismantle the barriers of oppression and move toward equality of opportunity and access for Black and brown people. This resolution and these policies are an important step toward creating a better future for all San Diegans.”

Fletcher wants additional policies integrated into the county’s culture as a way to create “equity data, promote health equity and engage communities in a participatory process.”

The proposed policies will:
● Create a process to solicit community input to identify county policies and practices that lead to or perpetuate racial or ethnic disparity, with the goal of catalyzing change for just, safe and healthier communities.
● Revise the statement of values, mission, vision, and strategic plan to represent equity and inclusion as a core principle of the County of San Diego and Board of Supervisors.
● Incorporate a section titled Equity Impact Statement in the Board Letter template for all county departments to identify and determine a systematic approach with standardized guidelines to express the equity impact of recommended actions.
● Enhance data collection capabilities to identify racial disparities among programs and services that are meant to improve health, social, economic, educational and criminal justice circumstances, and prioritize funding proportional to need when possible.

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