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Racism Declared A Public Health Crisis In New York

The declaration is to combat discrimination and racism in New York’s healthcare system.

Racism is now a public health crisis in New York.

The declaration is a part of a series of measures signed last week (December 23) by Governor Kathy Hochul in an effort to address the inequities in New York’s healthcare system, which have been magnified during the pandemic.

[RELATED: New York City Declares Racism A Public Health Crisis]

On Dec. 5th, the New York City Police Department released data that found that hate crimes were up 100% year-over-year, including a 361% increase in anti-Asian hate crime incidents.

One of the measures that were signed addresses the medical biases impacting newborns and their mothers of color, where the maternal mortality rate for Black mothers is the highest rate in the U.S.

According to studies, Black mothers are eight times more likely to die from a pregnancy-related cause than white mothers.

RELATED: DISRUPT & DISMANTLE Examines Maternal Mortality

In addition, Hochul presented a bill to redefine hate crimes with the goal to reform the process in which law enforcement collects and reports the demographic data of hate crime victims and perpetrators. The bill also requires certain state organizations to report their demographic data specifically with regards to Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

Another measure that was signed also mandates that the New York State Office of Technology Services are to help state agencies improve their language translation technology. With more than 700 languages and dialects spoken in New York City, the lack of language translation services has impacted residents’ abilities to vote and protect themselves against Covid-19.

“For far too long, communities of color in New York have been held back by systemic racism and inequitable treatment,” Hochul said in a statement last Thursday. “I am proud to sign legislation that addresses this crisis head-on, addressing racism, expanding equity and improving access for all.”

State senator Kevin Parker says he hopes the classification of racism as a public health crisis pushes higher-ups to focus on systemic solutions. “For decades, racial inequalities have caused mental, physical, and financial hardships for people of color,” he said. “These inequities have impacted how they live, the resources they have access to and more importantly their quality of healthcare.”

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