Is racism a public health issue? A county commissioner says it should be

DeKalb commissioner wants to make racism a public health emergency

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — A DeKalb County Commissioner introduced a resolution to make racism a public health issue.

The four-page resolution includes issues like criminal justice and COVID-19 health disparities.

District 3 County Commissioner Larry Johnson says about 40% of people in his area did not have a primary care physician and therefore could not get tested.

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“We really have to look at it from a zoning, a housing, an economic stand-point as how we look at racism,” Johnson said.


The resolution passed out of committee, but not without debate of which groups to include in the resolution.

“There are other disadvantage populations in a county as diverse as DeKalb is, particularly related to immigrants,” District 2 Commissioner Jeff Radar said. “I just think it would be helpful to define that term so that we can recognize that also. I just think that it is expandable.”

Commissioner Johnson replied, “It would be first for us to lead the way by initiating this resolution, to first acknowledge what African Americans have been dealing with since 1619.”

The full Board of Commissioners will take up the resolution Tuesday.

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