Salt Lake City’s mayor and the seven members of its city council have adopted a joint resolution that declares racism a public health crisis.
The resolution states that “in our capacity as a local municipal authority we declare racism as a moral and public health crisis in our city, state, and nation and reaffirm our commitment to the principles of the Utah Compact on Racial Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.”
Mayor Erin Mendenhall was elected in November 2019 and has served as the city’s mayor since January 2020.
“This is an important declaration for us to make as a City. Not only are we publicly acknowledging the existence of a grave inequity that many in our community have known and experienced for so long, we are also committing ourselves to the creation of policies and ordinances that are anti-racist,” the mayor said, according to a press release.
“There is no doubt of the crisis. Our society is burdened with bigotry and all the hatred that comes with it,” Council Chair Amy Fowler said. “Indeed, it is a moral imperative to combat racism, discrimination, and inequities in all their forms.”
Fierce debate continues to rage in the U.S. over issues such as whether the nation is infected by systemic racism and whether concepts related to critical race theory should be included in education.
The resolution states that “this nation and the states and municipalities within have been designed to systematically disadvantage underrepresented racial and ethnic groups thereby creating health disparities that have persisted even after the Civil Rights Movement following the abolition of slavery.”
It notes that “Salt Lake City remains committed to the work that it will take now and into the future to dismantle our racist legacies so that all feel welcome and safe in Salt Lake City.”
The resolution declares that “we commit to look internally, externally, and encourage all who reside, work, and own businesses in our city to commit to the work necessary to dismantle racist legacies and equitably work to repair our communities.”