Cambridge City
MA

Policy Order
POR 2020 #134
Order Adopted as Amended
Jun 10, 2020 5:30 PM

That the Cambridge City Council declare racism as a public health crisis

Information

Department:City Clerk's OfficeSponsors:Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui, Councillor E. Denise Simmons, Councillor Quinton Zondervan, Vice Mayor Alanna Mallon
Category:Policy Order

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Body

WHEREAS:

The United States has a long history of racism against the Black community. Through Jim Crow laws, redlining and slavery, racism is woven into the very fabric of American history over the past 400 years; and

 

 

WHEREAS:

To this day, racism causes disproportionately high rates of homelessness, incarceration, poor education and health outcomes, and economic hardship for Black people; and

 

 

WHEREAS:

Last year, more than 1,000 people were killed by police in the United States, and Black people were disproportionately among those killed. Black people accounted for 24% of those killed, despite making up only about 13% of the population; and

 

 

WHEREAS:

The current COVID-19 pandemic also shows Black people have been disproportionally affected, with the latest data showing that Black individuals have died from the disease at almost three times the rate of white people, and Black people have tested positive at almost three times the rate of white people in Cambridge specifically, further showing racial disparities and inequities; and

 

 

WHEREAS:

The CDC defines public health as the science of protecting and improving the health of people and their communities; and

 

 

WHEREAS:

The U.S. Office of Disease Prevention has recognized that discrimination has a negative impact on health in a community; and

 

 

WHEREAS:

The Boston Public Health Commission states that racism impacts social determinants of health, including social capital, education, transportation, employment, food access, health behaviors, socioeconomic status, environmental exposure, access to health services, housing, and public safety; and

 

 

WHEREAS:

On March 2, 2020, the City Council passed a policy order that asked for a “Racial Equity Impact Statement” to be included on all relevant agenda items; and

 

 

WHEREAS:

On April 13, 2020, the City Council passed a policy order to convene an advisory committee to review the impact of the pandemic on local communities of color, to propose ways to better disseminate information, relief, and resources to these communities, to begin collecting data on the neighborhoods that have been hardest hit in an effort to reduce infection rates and improve recovery rates; and

 

 

WHEREAS:

Acknowledging racism as a public health crisis pushes us as a City to address instances of structural racism that permeate within our schools, health care, housing, criminal justice and workforce, and it also pushes us to reform any systems that perpetuate racism and tackle disparities that have led to poorer health outcomes for Black residents in Cambridge; now therefore be it

 

 

ORDERED:

That the Cambridge City Council declare racism as a public health crisis; be it further 

 

 

ORDERED:

That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to direct the Cambridge Public Health Department to declare racism as a public health crisis; and

 

 

ORDERED:

That the City Clerk be and hereby is requested to forward a suitably engrossed copy of this resolution to Black Lives Matter Cambridge Chapter, NAACP Cambridge Branch, and the Cambridge African American Heritage Alliance on behalf of the entire City Council.

 

Meeting History

Jun 8, 2020 5:30 PM Video City Council Regular Meeting
draft Draft
RESULT:REFERRED [UNANIMOUS]
YEAS:Dennis J. Carlone, Patricia Nolan, Jivan Sobrinho-Wheeler, Alanna Mallon, Marc C. McGovern, Sumbul Siddiqui, E. Denise Simmons, Timothy J. Toomey, Quinton Zondervan
Jun 10, 2020 5:30 PM Video City Council Special Meeting
draft Draft

add all councillors as sponsors.

RESULT:ORDER ADOPTED AS AMENDED [UNANIMOUS]
YEAS:Dennis J. Carlone, Patricia Nolan, Jivan Sobrinho-Wheeler, Alanna Mallon, Marc C. McGovern, Sumbul Siddiqui, E. Denise Simmons, Timothy J. Toomey, Quinton Zondervan