County Commissioners Declare Racism a Public Health Crisis

Resolution commits to invest in minority and disadvantaged neighborhoods

On June 16, the Montgomery County Board of County Commissioners passed a resolution declaring racism as a public health crisis at their regularly scheduled public meeting at 1:30 p.m.

Montgomery County identifies racism as a root cause of poverty, negative social determinants of health and overall poor health outcomes. It causes persistent discrimination and disparate outcomes in many areas of life, including housing, economic opportunity, infant mortality, employment, food access and criminal justice.

“We want to make it explicitly clear that we are against racism and inequality in any form,” said Judy Dodge, Montgomery County Commission President. “We are committed to taking action and investing our resources to help our community become more equitable. The passage of this resolution is only the beginning.”

“This resolution outlines the resources that Montgomery County is committing to help bridge the equity gap and make investments where they are needed most in our community,” said Commissioner Debbie Lieberman.

“Montgomery County supports all efforts within the county, the State of Ohio and nationwide to address racism and public health disparities due to racial inequities. We ask the Governor, the Speaker of the Ohio House, and the Ohio Senate President to join with us to declare racism as a public health crisis and to enact equity in all policies of the state of Ohio,” said Commissioner Carolyn Rice.

The resolution (RES NO. 20-0759) outlines the following commitments and action items:

1. Assert that racism is a public health crisis affecting our entire county.

2. Continue and renew our focus on social justice and equity.

3. Progress as an equity and justice-oriented organization, with the Board of Commissioners and its leadership team continuing to identify specific activities to further enhance diversity and to ensure anti-racism principles across Board of Commissioner’s leadership, staffing, training and contracting.

4. Promote equity and health equity through all policies approved by the Board of Commissioners and enhance educational efforts aimed at addressing and dismantling racism, and understanding how it affects the delivery of human and social services, job training and employment access, and economic development through:

a. Development of a new stand-alone “Career and Innovation Center” at the Westown Shopping Center on West Third Street in Dayton.
b. Commit existing and additional resources to the Montgomery County “Micro-Enterprise” Grant Program targeted to small, minority, women and veteran-owned businesses.
c. Commit targeted Economic Development resources to minority and disadvantaged neighborhoods in Montgomery County.
d. Commit to address safe, affordable housing opportunities in the Black community.
e. Continue to address food insecurity, nutrition and food access.
f. Commit existing and additional resources to reducing infant mortality and increasing maternal vitality in the Black community.
g. Continue to, within applicable state law, provide greater access to local and diverse contracting, wherever possible.

5. Continue to advocate locally through the County Commissioners Association of Ohio (CCAO) and the National Association of Counties (NACo) for relevant policies that improve health and wellbeing in racial and ethnic minority communities; and supports local, state, regional and federal initiatives that advance efforts to dismantle systemic racism.

6. Further work to solidify alliances and partnerships with other organizations that are confronting racism and encourage other local, state, regional and national entities to recognize racism as a public health crisis.

7. Support community efforts to amplify issues of racism and engage actively and authentically with racial and ethnic minority groups wherever they live in the county.

8. To always promote and support policies that prioritize the health and wellbeing of all people, especially racial and ethnic minorities, by mitigating exposure to adverse childhood experiences.

a. Continue and expand the Male Leadership Academy, which was established as a pilot program in 2019.
b. Establish a Female Leadership Academy to serve young women in the community.

9. Continue already-existing racial equity and implicit bias training, with the goal of reaching all Board of Commissioners staff.

10. Encourage racial equity training among all community partners, grantees, vendors and contractors.

11. Receive regular reports and updates from the County Administrator and staff (as directed) to the Board of Commissioners on the progress of the commitments made in this Resolution to facilitate ongoing community engagement and transparency, and to identify additional opportunities to further advance racial equity.

For the full text of the resolution, please visit the Clerk of the Commission’s page on the website