Memphis City Council OKs resolution declaring racism a pandemic

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — In the face of the coronavirus, the Memphis City Council on Tuesday officially acknowledged racism as a pandemic that is plaguing Memphis.

The historic resolution could effect change moving forward.

“We have been looking at the COVID-19 pandemic, and how it has exposed the inequities even further,” said City Council Chairwoman Patrice Robinson.

The CDC acknowledges that “long standing systemic health and social inequalities have put some members of the racial and ethnic minority groups at increased risk.”

“We are seeing particular increases in cases and death associated with COVID-19 among communities of color here in Shelby County,” said Dr. Jonathan Mermin, assistant surgeon general.

The issue has been further emphasized by recent police killings, and ensuing social justice protests.

“Police violence, it kills black Americans at nearly three times the rate of white Americans,” Robinson said.

The racism resolution will not bring any massive changes to how law enforcement operates, or how racism is handled across the city of Memphis.

But elected officials are hopeful that it will provide continued awareness of systematic racism into the future.

“This is the right thing for us to do to be more conscious about it, and make sure that as we move forward, and consider the legislation, that we remember that this is a pandemic as well,” Robinson said.

The racism resolution passed unanimously.

Related: Shelby County considers declaring racism a pandemic, causing friction on commission

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