SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News / Elizabeth Ruiz) – The San Antonio City Council has approved a resolution declaring racism a public health crisis.
Nine out of 11 council members, including the mayor, voted to approve the resolution following a presentation by the city’s chief equity officer, Zan Gibbs, who referred to racism as a “life or death” situation.
“All forms of racism increase the stress levels of people of color with enough significance to impact their health outcomes, decrease their life expectancy and negatively impact their mental health,” said Gibbs, adding that it’s not just a moral issue. “Racism must be eliminated because it is a life and death issue for many.”
Councilman Manny Pelaez was absent, and Councilman Clayton Perry abstained.
The four-page document includes more than a dozen”whereas” statements, most of them citing examples of racism throughout the history of San Antonio. Perry said some of those statements are “divisive and do not add relevance to the argument that racism is a public health crisis.” The District 10 councilman did not specify which statements he found divisive.
“This resolution speaks to inclusiveness,” said councilwoman Jada Andrews-Sullivan. “Not one are we leaving out, but we are addressing the monster that has divided our nation for far too long.”
While the resolution is non-binding, several council members noted that it paves the way for actions to advance racial equity in San Antonio.
You can see the draft resolution here.