WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13) today announced their bicameral bill to confront the public health impacts of structural racism through two bold new programs within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“For far too long, our federal government has failed to recognize and address the structural racism that has devastated Black and brown communities and denied access to quality health care,” said Congresswoman Pressley. “With the COVID-19 pandemic unveiling and exacerbating racial disparities in health outcomes, it is time we recognize and treat structural racism and police brutality as the public health crises that they are. This first-of-its-kind bill would expand federal research and investment into the public health impacts of structural racism, require the federal government to proactively develop anti-racist health policy, and take a public health approach to combatting police violence. We must have a coordinated public health response to structural racism, and this bill would do just that.”
“It is time we start treating structural racism like we would treat any other public health problem or disease: investing in research into its symptoms and causes and finding ways to mitigate its effects,” said Senator Warren. “My bill with Representatives Lee and Pressley is a first step to create anti-racist federal health policy that studies and addresses disparities in health outcomes at their roots.”
“COVID-19 has exposed the injustices in health outcomes for Black and Brown people, and it’s no coincidence,” said Rep. Barbara Lee. “In addition to addressing the lasting impacts of systemic racism in criminal justice, economic inequality and the like, we must also commit resources to understanding racially unjust health outcomes. I’m taking steps, alongside Congresswoman Pressley and Senator Warren, toward reversing racism in our health care system with this legislation.”
For more information and links to the bill, read the full press release HERE