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Minnesota House declares racism a public health crisis

The chamber passed a resolution Monday saying it'll work to dismantle racism in the state.

The Minnesota House of Representatives on Monday passed a resolution declaring racism a public health crisis in Minnesota. 

The resolution, which passed on a 82-40 vote, applies to the whole state and affirms that the House will be an active participant in the dismantling of racism in areas of government, including health, public safety and education.

“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,” Rep. Ruth Richardson (DFL-Mendota Heights), chief author of the resolution, said in a news release. “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 also calls for the creation of a House Select Committee, which will analyze legislative work through an "intersectional race equity lens," the release said. 

"Racism is a public health crisis. The Minnesota House of Representatives is taking action to formally recognize this reality — which must be acknowledged in order for us to make progress," House Speaker Melissa Hortman (DFL-Brooklyn Park) said. "Minnesota has disturbing inequities in education, healthcare, employment, and housing. The House will undertake efforts to dismantle the structural racism inherent in our own institution as we continue our work to address these inexcusable inequities throughout Minnesota."

The Minnesota Senate has not announced plans to advance a similar resolution.

More than 20 cities and counties, including Hennepin County, and at least three states have declared racism a public health crisis, the release said. 

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