A look back at Athens’ declaration of racism as a public health crisis — The New Political – The New Political – DC Initiative on Racial Equity
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Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in The New Political’s Winter Magazine: “Moving Forward.”

Over a year ago, the Athens City Council passed a resolution declaring racism to be a public health crisis in the city, county and state. The resolution contains five sections dedicated to action, two of which are still in the works today. 

The resolution, R-10-20, was brought forth by Councilmember Sarah Grace on June 22, 2020, in a special session of Council. The resolution was unanimously passed by the council and with support from Athens Mayor Steve Patterson. 

“I found that the resolution became a line in the sand to start systemic change here in the city of Athens … We’ve got to turn things around as a country, since we are a municipality within the country. This was a starting point for change here in our own community in Southeast Ohio,” Patterson said about R-10-20 in a phone interview.

Along with declaring racism a public health crisis, the resolution urged the Ohio General Assembly and Gov. Mike DeWine t


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