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Nevada governor declares racism a public health crisis

Democrat Steve Sisolak says COVID-19 outbreak further heightened awareness about racial disparities.

Updated: August 6, 2020 - 1:14pm

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Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak on Wednesday signed a proclamation declaring "systemic racism" a public health crisis, saying the recent pandemic has helped magnify disparities for minorities.

“Institutional and systemic racism has gone on far too long in this country and in this state. Based on research, we are taking a proactive approach in joining fellow leaders around the country to declare racism as a public health crisis," the Democratic governor said as he signed the declaration. 

Sisolak's office said the proclamation was designed to spur action "so Nevada does not perpetuate poor health outcomes due to systemic racism during and after the pandemic."

Nevada now joins Colorado, Ohio and Wisconsin plus a few dozen cities and counties in declaring racism a public health crisis.

Sisolak said he is concerned about inequitable access to mental health services and a lack of educational and career opportunities for minorities. 

"The COVID-19 pandemic has magnified the challenges caused by racial disparities within Nevada's communities, especially in the form of virus and environmental exposure risks, and through all major stages of health care," his office said in a press release.