A Minnesota House committee approved a resolution Tuesday declaring racism a statewide “public health crisis.”
The resolution passed out of the House Rules Committee and now heads to the House floor for debate, with a final vote expected for July 20.
Rep. Ruth Richardson (DFL-Mendota Heights) authored the resolution, which applies to the entire state of Minnesota and affirms that the Minnesota House will be “an active participant in the dismantling of racism.”
“Black, Indigenous, and people of color have known for generations that the systems in this country were designed to exclude them,” Richardson said in a press release after the resolution passed. “The devastation we are seeing in our communities today is the result of those systems playing out for hundreds of years.”
If approved by the full House, the resolution would create a House Select Committee “tasked with analyzing legislative work through an intersectional race-equity lens.”
According to the press release, the resolution further states that racism is “embedded in the foundation of America, beginning with chattel slavery in 1619.”
“Much of the Black experience in America has been endured under slavery and Jim Crow, which created preferential opportunities for white people while subjecting people of color to hardships and disadvantages in every area of life,” said the press release.
The Hennepin County Board of Commissioners recently passed a similar resolution declaring racism a public health crisis.
Commissioners Angela Conley and Irene Fernando introduced the resolution, which passed in a vote of 6-1.
“Ultimately this resolution is about the health and well-being of Hennepin County residents who have borne the brunt of racial discrimination and racial inequity through various different systems,” Conley said in a press release.
House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler (DFL-Golden Valley) said the Minnesota House “can and should play an active role in dismantling systems that have denied dignity, respect, and compassion to so many.”
“Our nation is facing a historic moment and the Minnesota House plans to be on the side of justice and human rights,” he added.
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of The Minnesota Sun and The Ohio Star. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Minnesota House Hearing” by Minnesota Republican Senate Caucus.