The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment announced at a “town hall” meeting on Thursday that it would declare racism a public health crisis.
Jill Hunsaker Ryan, executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, told the Denver Post that the agency will join the American Public Health Association in defining race and social inequalities as a broader health concern.
The department had already published an open letter on its website calling the deaths of “George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks, and untold others” a symptom of “deeply-rooted systemic and institutional racism that has dehumanized and recklessly taken the lives of people of color for generations,” and labeling racism a “serious public health issue.”
“I would hope that everyone that works at CDPHE would recognize that systemic racism impacts our work and has for longer than the past month.”
“It starts with confronting uncomfortable truths — like the fact that racism has been a public health crisis for much longer than COVID-19.” [emphasis added]