Last week, the Chatham-Kent Board of Health unanimously voted to declare that racism of any kind is a public health issue.
“Anti-Black, anti-Indigenous and other forms of oppression result in disproportionate harms to the health of individuals and communities of colour,” North Kent Councillor Joe Faas, the chair of the Public Health Board in Chatham-Kent, said in a statement posted on the CK Public Health website.
“This has been especially amplified during this COVID-19 pandemic.
Faas said compared to the least diverse neighbourhoods, racialized neighbourhoods in Ontario, especially in large urban areas have:
– Three times higher rates of COVID-19 infections.
– Four times higher rates of hospital and ICU admissions.
– And two times higher death rates.
“More intentional action is needed to deliver on our organization’s vision that ‘Everyone in Chatham-Kent has the opportunity to reach their full potential for health and well-being’,” Faas said.
“The Board of Health pledges its commitment to work with the CK Public Health team to develop a plan to guide our organization. We will examine our organization’s policies, procedures, programs and services to ensure inclusivity, diversity and health equity. We will work with community partners to model the behaviours and values that build an inclusive community.”
Faas said Chatham-Kent thrives when everyone has an opportunity to succeed and live a healthy life.
“The responsibility for this opportunity belongs to all of us,” he said.
“If we work together we can move this forward together. How will you work with us to collectively make a difference? We are CK Public Health and we commit to change.”
CK Public Health officials say the statement will be dicussed further at the Health Board’s July meeting,