RICHMOND- Virginia, a state in the United States long linked with segregation and racist behaviour, is now only a sign away from being the first state in the West to declare racial discrimination as a public health crisis.
The Virginia State Senate approved the declaration on a voice vote on Tuesday and sent it to the office of Gov. Ralph. S. Northam, who is awaited to sign it.
Financed by Del. Lashrecse D. Aird, D-Petersburg, the proposal initially passed the House of Delegates on an almost-straight party vote. With Chesterfield County’s Republican Del. Carrie E. coming together with House Democrats to back it.
The proposal addresses five particular issues:
- Establish the Commission to Examine Racial Inequity in Virginia Law permanently.
- Making a list of terms and definitions of health equity and racial discrimination.
- Providing training for all state elected officials, other state employees and their staff members on recognizing racism.
- Expanding VDH’s Office of Health Equity to the prime watchdog for making sure the policies addressing racial discrimination are implemented.
- Encourage community engagement throughout the state on recognizing racism.
The vote is essential for happening in a state previously linked to the Jim Crow and Confederacy laws and later by the Massive Resistance to desegregate the state’s government schools.
The previous year, Virginia became the second state to approve a law forbidding no-knock search warrants from being practised. Anecdotally known as “Breonna’s Law” in remembrance of the Kentucky woman murdered when police burst into an apartment engaging in a shootout with the woman’s boyfriend.