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RED WING-- The Red Wing City Council unanimously passed a resolution declaring racism a public health emergency. 

The push for this declaration began in October 2020 when a private citizen presented a draft resolution. The Human Rights Commission formed a committee in November to focus on this issue.

One of the common themes in the discussion on this resolution was that it is not a perfect document and the process to get the resolution from inception to passage was not always smooth. However, the city sees this as an important step in addressing racism. 

“It is a start of a conversation. You will have to continue to hold us to account; that’s the nature of things, we have a lot of responsibilities. This is one of them. This is a big one,” Council member Evan Brown said, adding, “My commitment here is to continue to work forward and push forward, and push in, lean in.” 

The resolution states in part, “whereas, racism in all its forms causes persistent discrimination and disparate outcomes in many areas of life, including housing, education, health, employment, public safety, and criminal justice; and … whereas being anti-racist means moving and speaking in ways that repair (not simply abandon) more than 500 years of racist policies and practices. Anti-racism means actively participating in dismantling racist systems and institutional practices, as well as addressing personal and interpersonal acts of racism.” 

Action steps

Declaring racism a public health emergency means Red Wing will strive in part to:

  • Build an active, anti-racist culture in the city

  • Implement a racial equity plan that will include mental health care, drug treatment, and a focus on food deserts, housing, zoning, hiring practices, youth opportunities, and other impacts included in the Racial Equity Plan. 

  • Work with Goodhue County, the state, Red Wing School District, the Prairie Island Indian Community Tribal Council and other entities to identify and implement initiatives that will have the most impact on health disparities caused by racism

  • Set aside a dedicated fund of money for supporting racial equity initiatives and collecting data

The full resolution can be found in the packet for Monday’s City Council meeting

Monday’s vote was 6-0. Council member Andy Klitzke was not in attendance.

The Republican Eagle will run a longer article about the resolution in this weekend's paper.  

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