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Clark County declares racism a public health crisis



“We say it matters to us.”

VANCOUVER, WASHINGTON (KOIN) – One of the groups most affected by the pandemic is the Spanish community, Latinx. In Clark County, they make up 10% of the population, but 28% of the total number of COVID cases.

Back in the summer, Southwestern League of United Citizens of Latin America wrote a letter to the board to address racism as a public health crisis. On Wednesday Clark County Council declared racism a public health crisis.

Temple Lenz, Clark County Councilor for District 1

, said the reason she proposed the resolution was that “they see even greater differences in health actions than ever before”.

Clark County Councilor Lenz County, December 2, 2020 (KOIN)

One goal is to provide resources such as grants to fund programs that help reduce disparities, she said.

“The existence of such a resolution says that we, Clark County as an agency and as a governing body for a county of 500,000 people, say that this is something we take seriously,” Lenz said. “For the residents we have who are part of colorful communities, we say it matters to us.”

She noted that there have been “three decades of research that supports this idea that social health indicators have an impact on the public health of communities. So not only if someone is a healthy person, but all these other social factors determine whether someone can live the most fulfilling and healthy life.

Research shows that access to housing, education and the types of jobs that people can get are “contributed by systemic racism. When we say systemic racism, we mean this structural institutional racism. “

Ed Hamilton Rosales, President of Southwest Washington LULACsaid he hoped the county could improve access to testing and healthcare. He told KOIN 6 News that the only way for many people in the community to be tested is from plant outbreaks.

“I would like to have more tests available. We are lagging behind in access testing, and even with free clinics that make testing available to our undocumented and unmanaged communities, there are still costs, ”Rosales said. “It’s not the cost of the test, it’s the cost of seeing a doctor to do it.”

And he said that access to care, to funds, “the ability to survive, to feed your family changes because of the color of your skin.”

Lenz said Latinx people are no more suspicious of COVID than humans.

“It’s not something. Exposure and the likelihood of getting it are higher due to these social circumstances, as well as access to quality care, tests and treatment. “

After the resolution was passed, Lenz said it changed things for the county council.

“This is now one of the county’s priorities as we begin to look at our budget, and funding it is officially one of the objectives we need to look at.”

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