The Connecticut legislature has passed a bill that declares racism a public health crisis, and now the bill only needs Democrat Governor Ned Lamont to sign it to become law.
After passing in the state Senate, the bill passed 114-33 in the House. The bill, which is devoted to health issues, states, “It is hereby declared the policy of the state of Connecticut to recognize that racism is a public health crisis. There is established a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to examine racial disparities in public health. The Commission shall study institutional racism in the state’s laws and regulations impacting public health.”
GOP Rep. Kimberly Fiorello blasted the bill, saying:
I’m very concerned about this bill that comes out straightforwardly saying that all of us – everyone here, our whole state – has to accept as fact that racism, which is to judge people by their skin color, by their ethnicity, that that is blatantly happening everywhere in public health in this state. You’re asking us to accept something that is not true. … I’m sorry to tell you, but you can write it in the skies and it still won’t be true. Because the people of Connecticut do not go around judging each other based on their skin. I don’t know one person that does that. This is very cynical, and this is not what I stand for in our state.
“Under the bill, a commission on racial equity in public health would be formed to examine the impact of racism ‘on vulnerable populations within diverse groups … including on the basis of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity and disability, including, but not limited to, Black American descendants of slavery,’” The CT Mirror noted. “The panel would be required to submit a report to the state’s Office of Policy and Management and to the Public Health and Appropriations committees by Jan. 1, 2022 and every six months thereafter outlining recommendations and documenting progress.”
Democrat Rep. Brandon McGee insisted, “Racism is deeply embedded throughout our systems, policies and culture. While the national and international protests in response to the murders of – just to name two of many – George Floyd and Breonna Taylor initially spurred declarations throughout this country and even here in the state of Connecticut, racism has been a public health crisis since the founding of this country; not just last week, and not just throughout the summer of 2020.”
Democrat Rep. Anthony Nolan echoed, “Racism is difficult to tackle, because it essentially is known to require the redistribution of power, wealth and resources. So when talking about something as such, there will be a feeling of strong opposition. And there will be a feeling of fear, because we are equalizing the world for those who are not given equality. That doesn’t mean you’re losing out on anything. It just means you’re allowing those who have been held back, stopped and forgotten to get … what many others have.”