Louisville mayor signs order declaring racism a 'public health crisis'

Louisville mayor signs order declaring racism a 'public health crisis'

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer signed an executive order declaring racism a public health crisis on Tuesday.

The executive order addresses seven key factors the Mayor’s Office cites as the city’s racial equity challenges, which include public safety, children and families, Black employment, Black wealth, housing and neighborhood investment, health and voting.

At a Press Conference on Tuesday, the Mayor stated "For too many Louisvilians, racism is a fact of daily life, a fact that was created and documented in our country's laws and institutional policies like segregation, redlining and urban renewal."

Fischer cited half a dozen statistics about racial inequity in the city, including that the poverty rate among Black people in Louisville is three times as high as the rate for white people.

"All of these and millions of other statistics and real life experiences tell us our systems are more than broken. They must be dismantled and replaced," he said.

In the Advancing Racial Equality proposal, the Mayor calls for a series of steps, including:

  • Developing "behavioral health response teams" as a "non-enforcement" alternative or support to police;
  • Establishing a plan to ensure every home has broadband and Wi-Fi access;
  • Closing the Black pay gap and increasing Black employees in professional, managerial and technical positions;
  • Advocating for a boost to minimum wages to a "living" wage; and
  • Investing in homeowners and infrastructure improvements in disadvantaged neighbourhoods such as in the West End.