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Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele declares racism a 'public health crisis'

Posted: 1:38 PM, May 20, 2019
Updated: 2019-05-20 17:52:34-04
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MILWAUKEE — Declaring racism a public health crisis, County Executive Chris Abele signed a resolution Monday morning. In effect, the resolution works to address race issues head on.

“We need to see racism as a rotting apple tree whose roots are permeating these systems,” County Supervisor Marcelia Nicholson said.

Those systems include education, mass incarceration and health care. Milwaukee resident Frank Nitty considers the resolution a start but questions its effectiveness.

“Right now it’s not enforceable. The next step would be to make it enforceable. Once it becomes enforceable, it'll have more of a seriousness to it,” Nitty said.

“We want every single person who works for the county, every decision they make to be thinking how can I make this decision in a way that’s more effective and more likely to make a difference for these disparities.” — County Executive Chris Abele

The resolution is expected to offer a systemic response to systemic racism by exposing biases and implementing race equity training for all 4,400 county employees. Abele said he wants the topic of race equity to inform decisions about budget and policy moving forward.

“We want every single person who works for the county, every decision they make to be thinking how can I make this decision in a way that’s more effective and more likely to make a difference for these disparities,” Abele said.

For now, the training is being offered to elected officials and county employees, but the resolution is expected to impact everyone living in Milwaukee County.