Efforts to Fight for Equity Continue in Columbus
Resolution Continues Work to Address Racism and Decrease Disparities in Columbus
[COLUMBUS, OH] One year ago, Council declared racism a public health crisis in the City of Columbus. Since then, the work to eradicate systems and policies that oppress and target minority groups continues.
On Monday, June 21, 2021, Councilmember Priscilla Tyson, with the full support of Council, will present resolution 0111X-2021 acknowledging the racial inequities in Columbus and affirm Council’s commitment to advancing racial equity in the City.
“The deeply rooted issues we bear as a society were brought on by decades of systemic racism, unjust practices and structures implemented by various federal, state and local government entities,” said Tyson. “The regulated practices of segregation, redlining, inequitable zoning and mass incarceration are the foundation for the problems that exist today.”
Black, Latinx and other non-white communities are disproportionately impacted by challenges and inequities of racism.
Columbus City Council recognizes short-, and long-term racial justice reforms must consider the breadth of issues and interactive relationships between policy areas, extending not only into substantive reform but also budget, public safety, and personnel decisions.
“We must acknowledge and speak publicly about the wrongs that were allowed to exist because it was written into policy,” Tyson continued. “Legalized racism is a part of America’s ugly history. We have the opportunity to reform, rehabilitate and reimagine a society that works for everyone.”
Council has adopted numerous policies to eliminate racial disparities and improve equity across our community. Those efforts include Reimagining Public Safety, Housing for All, curbing evictions that disproportionately impact people of color, implementing the disparity study, supporting My Brother’s Keeper and the Commission on Black Girls and increasing economic opportunities on behalf of working families through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Furthermore, Columbus City Council has committed to this work by forming an internal Racial Equity Action Team. Trained by the National League of Cities’ Race, Equity and Leadership (REAL) team, staff will provide recommendations and next steps on how to advance anti-racist policy and racial equity in Columbus.
“I applaud the work Councilmember Tyson and this Council has accomplished since we declared Racism as a Public Health Crisis,” said Council President Shannon G. Hardin. “This resolution reaffirms Council’s commitment to equity and provides us a framework to work with the community, civic stakeholders and internal departments to envision a city where all thrive, and race and ethnicity no longer predict outcomes.”
Additionally, there has been support from other government bodies and the community as it concerns racial equity. Franklin County and Columbus Public Health not only passed resolutions to declare racism as a public health issue last year, but both entities have established key staff positions to address racial inequities.
Lastly, private sector partners created a letter by Columbus’ business community in support of City Council’s resolution declaring racism as a public health crisis. Over 3,200 businesses and individuals signed the letter. Moreover, several businesses have made internal changes and financial commitments to support racial equity, including Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, Nationwide Insurance, The Ohio State University and The Columbus Chamber, to name a few.