‘This is Not Merely Some Gesture to Check a Box:' Manchester Declares Racism a Public Health Crisis

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Manchester has joined a growing list of communities in the state to declare racism a public health crisis.

The Board of Directors' decision was unanimous on Tuesday.

The measure also calls to better track information when it comes to equity and advocate for policies to improve the health for communities of color.

“I want to make it very clear this is not merely some gesture to check a box to make everybody feel good. This is the right thing to do for a town like Manchester,” said Pamela Floyd-Cranford, (D) Manchester Board of Directors member.

Advocates call it a good first step to address long-running issues.

“That’s just the beginning. There’s a lot more work that needs to be done after that,” said Keren Prescott, Power Up Manchester founder.

Some pointed out concerns with Manchester’s own history, which recently included two men who were arrested after several Black teenagers say racial slurs were yelled at them.

Now the town joins other communities in the state including New Haven and Windsor to pass the public health measure.

“You can't resolve or put into place solutions to an issue if you haven’t been named it,” said Dr. Tekisha Everette, Health Equity Solutions executive director.

Everette sid communities of color are disproportionately affected by diseases and conditions including COVID-19, diabetes and high blood pressure.

“You can relate that back to the stress, the trauma, the weathering of what's happening on a regular basis. It's related to overt and covert racism,” said Everette.

Health Equity Solutions is reaching out to other towns and cities in the state to help pass a similar declaration.

It points out many have been moved to do it especially following the recent protests across the country.

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