Mayor Lori Lightfoot has declared racism as a public health crisis in Chicago.
During an appearance at the MLK Exhibit Center in North Lawndale on Thursday, she urged Chicagoans to help fight against racial inequality and systemic racism.
“We can no longer allow racism to rob the residents of the opportunity to live and lead full, healthy and happy lives and we are working closely with the Chicago Department of Public Health and community organizations to address these inequities once and for all,” Mayor Lightfoot said.
With that, Lightfoot listed a variety of things she and the Chicago Public Health Commissioner Allison Arwady plan on working on to improve anti-racist policies, ABC7 Chicago reports. Her list included: Building capacity for anti-racist leadership, reckoning with the impacts of racism, advancing strategies to operationalize racial equity and empowering transformative community relationships.
In addition, the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced it would be using $9.6 million in COVID-19 relief funds from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to create six Healthy Chicago Equity Zones that will be located throughout Chicago. The city is also partnering with six community organizations to develop ways to improve health and wellness amongst citizens.
“As we continue to recover from the pandemic, these coalitions will also lead hyperlocal strategies to confront the risk factors: health care and social services access, food access, housing conditions, community safety, and the physical and built neighborhood environments,” said CDI+PH Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady.