A new resolution on the books in South Fulton declares racism as a public health concern, thereby improving protections for people of color in the City of South Fulton.

The City of South Fulton is now Georgia’s first city and third government entity following the Centers for Disease Control and Dekalb County government to make this declaration.

The resolution also advocates for policies that improve physical and mental health in communities of color and encourages other local, state and national entities to recognize racism as a public health crisis.

The resolution will require the city to evaluate internal policies and procedures to ensure racial and income equity is a component in existing and future policies in South Fulton. It also encourages the city to offer educational training to employees to expand their understanding of how systemic racism affects people, particularly residents of South Fulton.

Council members Khalid Kamau and Naeema Gilyard co-sponsored the resolution to bring attention to the racial disparities and income inequalities in policymaking.

“COVID-19 brought racial disparities and income inequality to the surface,” Gilyard said. “It is something that is prevalent in America, and we know it. Data confirms it. As a city, we need to address it so that we do not become dysfunctional.

“Let this ordinance create love and sensible policies,” Gilyard said. “Love cures all ills.”

Recent data compiled from American Public Health Association shows that making declarations of this nature, while mainly symbolic, can also serve as an opportunity to dismantle and upend systemic racism.

“The goal of the resolution is to collect data on inequalities in our city, then create policies to address the inequities created by previous government policies,” Kamau said. “Similar resolutions have been adopted by ten states, 82 counties, and 115 cities.”

The ordinance goes into effect immediately.

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