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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Ryan Winkler (DFL)

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Minnesota House advances resolution declaring racism a public health crisis

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

A Minnesota House of Representatives committee today advanced a resolution declaring racism a public health crisis, with a final vote on the House floor likely to occur Monday, July 20. Click here to download a copy. 

Authored by Rep. Ruth Richardson (DFL-Mendota Heights), the declaration applies to the entire state and affirms that the Minnesota House will be an active participant in the dismantling of racism. It creates a House Select Committee on Minnesota’s response tasked with analyzing legislative work through an intersectional race equity lens. 

“Black, Indigenous, and people of color have known for generations that the systems in this country were designed to exclude them,” said Rep. Richardson. “The devastation we are seeing in our communities today is the result of those systems playing out for hundreds of years.” 

The resolution states that racism is embedded in the foundation of America, beginning with chattel slavery in 1619, and that much of the Black experience in America has been endured under slavery and Jim Crow, which created preferential opportunities for white people while subjecting people of color to hardships and disadvantages in every area of life.

“The Minnesota House as an institution can and should play an active role in dismantling systems that have denied dignity, respect, and compassion to so many,” said House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler. “Our nation is facing a historic moment and the Minnesota House plans to be on the side of justice and human rights.” 

Video of today’s Rules Committee discussion of the resolution will soon be available here