The Board of Supervisors today approved a resolution declaring racism as a public health crisis in Sacramento County.

The resolution, brought forth by District 1 Supervisor and Board Chair Phil Serna, pledges to promote racial equity while shaping policies, appropriating resources, implementing programs, and issuing directives, among other actions. 

“Sacramento County is one of the nation’s most diverse communities, and as such, all its citizens should have the opportunity to live their lives free from systemic racism. Research has demonstrated that racism adversely impacts the physical and mental health of people of color. The resolution we passed today acknowledges Sacramento County’s commitment to face this crisis head-on through fair and just governance and service delivery.”

District 1 Supervisor and Board Chair Phil Serna

The resolution committed to ensure the consistent collection, analysis, and reporting of demographic, socioeconomic, and public health data to measure progress toward eliminating racial inequities; to design, develop and deploy community-based alternatives to prevent trauma and eliminate harm associated with racial inequity; and advocate for local, state and federal policies that improve health and wellness in communities of color and support legislation that advances racial equity.

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Additionally, the resolution established the intent of the Board to create, by a separate resolution, a “Sacramento County Racial Equity Policy Cabinet,” that would issue reports to the Board and be responsible for promoting coordination, cooperation, and collaboration across County departments and the community to promote racial equity.

The Resolution:

A RESOLUTION OF THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS OF THE COUNTY OF SACRAMENTO DECLARING RACISM A PUBLIC HEALTH CRISIS

WHEREAS, Sacramento County is one of the Nation’s most diverse communities broadly recognized for celebrating its multi-cultural and ethnically diverse population, and it is the diversity of people of color who make the mosaic of Sacramento County such a wonderful place to live, work, play, learn, worship and raise a family; and

WHEREAS, it is incumbent on all locally appointed and elected policy makers to embrace, nurture, and protect the diversity of our community, and to ensure everyone has the opportunity to enjoy a life free from institutional, structural, systemic and interpersonal racial prejudice, bigotry, bias, derision, and hate; and

WHEREAS, institutional, structural, systemic and interpersonal racism adversely impacts the physical, mental and emotional health of people of color, and an emerging body of research demonstrates that racism is a social determinant of health that threatens health equity objectives; and

WHEREAS, the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors acknowledges and welcomes the inherent responsibility to shape policies,
appropriate resources, implement programs, issue directives, and to otherwise advocate for racial equity and to speak-up and -out when it is clear institutional, structural, systemic and interpersonal racial prejudice, bias, derision, and hate threatens the health and wellbeing of those they represent and serve; and

WHEREAS, Sacramento County is dedicated to improving health and wellness, eliminating health disparities and achieving health equity for all residents; and

WHEREAS, one such deliberative initiative to address racial health inequities and disparities that Sacramento County is proud to have initiated and continues to support, is the ‘Black Child Legacy Campaign,’ (BCLC) originally conceived as the ‘RAACD’ effort – ‘Reducing African American Child Deaths;’ and

WHEREAS, the BCLC/RAACD’s purpose is to address decades of health and social disparities in Sacramento County’s African American childhood population that have contributed to disproportionate death rates; and

WHEREAS, since commencing programmatic implementation of the BCLC/RAACD in 2015, Sacramento County has seen a considerable decrease in the disproportional mortality rate of African American children who have died due to well-documented leading causes of death; and

WHEREAS, the BCLC/RAACD effort serves as a clear example of Sacramento County’s commitment to racial equity, health for all, and to fight against institutional, structural, systemic, and interpersonal racism in all its manifest forms, but it is clear more must be done to confront continuing inequities that undermine fair and just governance and service delivery.

WHEREAS, more recently and in response to the coronavirus pandemic, Sacramento County Public Health commenced an initiative to further advance health equity by focusing on racial equity and confronting racism as a public health crisis from within and across its operations, programs and policies; and

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Board of Supervisors of the County of Sacramento, that Sacramento County commits to the following:

Assert that racism, and the health inequities therefrom, constitutes a public health crisis affecting our entire community; and

Work to shape an inclusive, well-informed governmental organization that is conscious of injustice and inequity through robust training and continuing education to expand understanding of how racial discrimination adversely affects individuals and communities most impacted by racism; and

Actively work to nurture and enhance diversity across the County workforce, especially in leadership and management positions; and

Review all policies, procedures, practices and protocols to ensure racial equity is a core value of Sacramento County, and work to eliminate those policies, procedures, practices and protocols that facilitate and/or harbor racial discrimination against specific populations; and

Ensure the consistent collection, analysis and reporting of disaggregated demographic, socioeconomic and public health data to assess, evaluate and measure progress towards eliminating racial inequities; and

Prioritize the investment of time and budget in promoting racial equity to address social determinants of health, including but not limited to continuing support for the Black Child Legacy Campaign; and

Promote and cultivate early and ongoing community involvement to identify and implement strategic interventions and solutions such as trauma-informed practices, and give voice to the lived experiences of our communities of color; and

Encourage and build upon Sacramento County Public Health’s strategic work to address racial equity and institutional racism; and

Identify, deploy and expand upon best practices used in other jurisdictions that promote racial equity and that address institutional, structural, systemic and interpersonal racism; and

Identify and implement solutions to eliminate institutional, structural and systemic racial inequity in all community services provided by the County including, but not limited to: public health, human assistance, protective services, homelessness and housing, economic development, land use and environment, finance, and criminal justice/law enforcement; and

Design, develop, enhance and deploy public education and messaging efforts to increase understanding and awareness around systemic racial inequity from a public health perspective, with special attention given to the experiences of communities of color; and

Design, develop, enhance and deploy community-based alternatives to prevent trauma and eliminate harm associated with racial
inequity; and

Advocate for relevant local, state, and federal policies that improve health and wellness in communities of color, and support local, state, and federal initiatives and legislation that advance racial equity; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the Board of Supervisors, through the County Chief Executive Officer and Assistant County Executive Officers, will work with the Department of Health Services, all County departments and other community partners, to assess and apply a racial equity lens to internal policies, procedures, practices and protocols; adopt preventive measures, and refine programs to fight institutional, structural and systemic racism and bigotry to promote the health, wellness and equity of Sacramento County’s valued workforce; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the Board of Supervisors intends to establish by separate resolution a “Sacramento County Racial Equity Policy Cabinet” which would issue periodic public reports to the Board of Supervisors and be responsible for promoting strategic coordination, cooperation and collaboration across all County Departments and the community regarding all efforts documented herein to promote racial equity.

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Born and raised in Rio Linda, graduate of Rio Linda High School, and resident for most of the last 50 years. Committee Chair for the Rio Linda Elverta Visions Committee, announcer for the Rio Linda Little League Parade, Keeper of the Archway Lights, and outspoken advocate for the community.

1 COMMENT

  1. Such a shame. Acting in spite of merit. County supervisors holding their shovels trying to exhume the long dead body of racism. Such hollowspeak is a daily occurrence. An American tragedy unfolding. ‘Fair and just governance’ wasn’t to be had before this? Unbelievably ridiculous.