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YWCA Hartford Region Statement on Passage of Bill Declaring Racism as a Public Health Crisis

YWCA Hartford Region applauds another victory for people of color across the state. Yesterday, the State House passed Senate Bill 1, An Act Equalizing Comprehensive Access to Mental, Behavioral and Physical Healthcare in Response to the Pandemic. The bill previously passed overwhelmingly in the state Senate and is headed to the Governor for signature.

Two important elements of the bill, which YWCA Hartford Region strongly supported, declares racism a public health crisis in Connecticut and establishes the Commission on Racial Equity in Public Health. It is not lost on us that the bill passed on the centennial of the Tulsa Oklahoma Massacre.

The final passage is significant, as it now sets the stage for a meaningful exploration into the trauma and impact racism has had in communities of color and helps find solutions, which is a first in Connecticut’s history.

YWCA Hartford Region applauds the Connecticut General Assembly and so many partners who helped bring this discussion to the forefront, including: State Senator Saud Anwar, the bill’s sponsor, the Legislative Black and Puerto Rican Caucus,  Commissioner of the Department of Children and Families, Vanessa Dorantes, Health Equity Solutions, the Greater Hartford Interfaith Action Alliance, Center for Leadership and Justice, Power Up CT, The Village for Children and Families, and our sister YWCA organizations.

In addition to the state, twenty-one municipalities have also declared racism a public health crisis.  This will allow the work to collect data and determine measurement criteria to begin addressing systemic racism in Connecticut, specifically its impact on public health.

We now stand together in victory but know our collective work is not done. YWCA Hartford Region stands firm in its commitment to support the process of developing a strategic plan to eliminate health and inequities in the BIPOC communities.