CCDPH Racial Justice Statement
CCDPH condemns the murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless other Black people who have lost their lives to police violence. We stand in solidarity with the activists and protestors calling for racial justice.
The history of our country is rife with the oppression, theft, murder, slavery, indentured servitude, and incarceration of Black people, Native Americans, and people of color. Racism is embedded in every institution in our nation; this must be confronted if we’re to make progress towards racial justice.
Racism is a public health emergency in suburban Cook County. In suburban Cook County, we have seen more Black people and Latinx people become sick and die from COVID-19 than their white counterparts. The health inequities in COVID-19 rates in Black and Brown communities are a direct result of structural racism.
Structural racism impacts every facet of our lives, even the price we pay for car insurance and whether a doctor believes us when we say we are in pain. It determines how quickly an ambulance shows up at our door if we call 9-1-1.
To effectively eradicate racism we must deliberately address existing injustices in health, education, employment, housing, and legal systems.
CCDPH endeavors in all that we do to support the most vulnerable among us. We are committed to continuing that work, and to examining how we can make a deeper impact.
Below are some of the ways that CCDPH is addressing health inequities in our COVID-19 response:
- Alternative Housing – In collaboration with County partners, CCDPH supports isolation housing for COVID-19 positive individuals who are unable to safely isolate at home, are housing insecure, or are homeless. CCDPH also supports respite housing for healthcare workers, first responders, and homeless service providers that cannot safely isolate from vulnerable family members in their household.
- Contact tracing –CCDPH is developing a comprehensive contact tracing program for suburban Cook County that will engage community partners and residents from the most impacted and vulnerable communities within suburban Cook County.
- Community Partners –CCDPH’s community engagement team is building on work with new and established partners, including grass-roots organizations, schools, community coalitions, and faith-based organizations, to ensure that concerns from the most vulnerable about inequitable access to care, testing, and resources are elevated.
- Advocating for essential services workers – CCDPH responds to public health related workplace violations, especially in the food processing industry. We work with the Illinois Attorney General and IDPH to help employees in submitting official complaints. At the direction of the Attorney General’s Office, CCDPH investigates and makes recommendations for closure, cleaning, and maintenance of a clean and safe workplace.
For more about the connection between racism, public health, and COVID-19, please see this open letter from the public health community.