The Minnesota House of Representatives voted to declare racism a public health crisis.

“This is about advancing and promoting equitable opportunity across all of our systems, in the areas of health, education, housing, public safety, and economic and workforce development,” said Rep. Ruth Richardson (DFL-Mendota Heights), chief author of the resolution. “The COVID-19 pandemic and senseless murder of George Floyd have shined a light on the historical and contemporary injustices that are still embedded in our society.”

The resolution states that racism is embedded in the foundation of America, beginning with chattel slavery​ in 1619, and that 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.

“Communities of color continue to face unacceptable disparities in our state, and many of these are a direct result of systemic racism that has existed for centuries,” said Rep. Rena Moran (DFL – Saint Paul), chair of the House People of Color and Indigenous (POCI) Caucus. “Today’s action in the Minnesota House recognizes this, and we’re committed to building an inclusive state where everyone has the opportunity to be safe, healthy, and successful.”

Minnesota joins more than 20 cities and counties and at least three states, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin, to declare racism a public health crisis.

At this time, the Minnesota Senate has not announced plans to advance a similar resolution.