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Brown, Ohio leaders call for racial justice

Senator to introduce resolution addressing disparities in health care

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, hosted a news conference call on Wednesday with U.S. Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio and civil rights leader Bishop Bobby Hilton, of Cincinnati, as they speak out in support of Ohioans fighting for racial justice in the wake of the death of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other black Americans.

“The protests around our state and throughout our country are an expression of fear, and grief, and frustration, and anger,” Brown said. “Black communities led the nation in mourning the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor over the last week — and they are now leading calls for justice and long-term changes to dismantle racist systems that hold them back. We need to listen to their voices, demand justice for all black lives lost to police brutality, stand with the people who built this country, and work with them to find long-term solutions.”

Beatty said the history and trauma of racism, “beginning with slavery and subsequent practices to terrorize and marginalize black people since, is not a memory of the past but a reality still today.”

“This dark history is exacerbated by the fact that black Americans are disproportionately the targets of injustices, ranging from loss of jobs, economic inequality and the ever-widened racial wealth gap, to mass incarceration and excessive police force, as well as the War on Drugs and COVID-19,” Beatty said.

In the coming days, Brown is set to introduce a Senate resolution declaring racism a public health crisis, which has been recognized by communities throughout Ohio.

Brown’s resolution will acknowledge that health care disparities have existed in America for more than 400 years, recognize how those disparities are being magnified and exacerbated today during the COVID-19 pandemic and acknowledge systemic barriers that people of color, especially African Americans, continue to face when seeking care, including implicit biases and overall access to the social determinants of health.

Brown took to the Senate floor on Wednesday, condemning President Trump’s response to protests of the murders of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and victims of systemic, racist police brutality.

Brown said minority communities have been and remain marginalized and targeted and that protests sweeping Ohio and the nation are in response to this historic racism.

“Our job is to show victims of systemic racism at the hands of their own government that the same government can and will protect them from this pandemic — that we hear them, that we see them, that we are fighting for them. And that their lives matter,” he said.