A new proposed resolution in the Utah Legislature would declare racism “a moral and public health crisis in the state.”
House Joint Resolution 13, sponsored by Rep. Sandra Hollins (D-Salt Lake City), would also affirm that lawmakers are working “to address, fund, and support solutions that strategically reduce the long-term impact that racism has on the quality of life and health for citizens of color in the state.”
Hollins, who is the state’s first African American lawmaker, could not be reached for comment Monday. Her resolution notes the negative impact of racism across the state and country, and it highlights the disparate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on communities of color.
Racism has become embedded over time into a system that structures opportunity and assigns value based on the social interpretation of how one looks," the resolution reads, "including systems that unfairly disadvantage specific individuals and communities while unfairly giving advantages to other individuals and communities, and sapping the strength of the whole society through the waste of human resources."
This comes after an announcement last month from Utah’s major health care providers declaring systemic racism a public health crisis in the state. The providers highlighted ways they planned to improve, including diversifying their staffs and leadership. University of Utah Health noted they were starting an anti-racism commission to bridge racial gaps in healthcare, education, and research, among other areas.
In 2016, the Utah Legislature declared pornography a public health crisis. That declaration garnered worldwide attention.
Hollins’ resolution was just made public, and it has not yet been scheduled for a committee hearing. The legislative session ends March 5.
2News reporter Kelly Vaughen contributed to this report.