Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) said she would address racism in public health by diverting over $9 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds to address the problem, according to The Blaze.
The progressive mayor claimed that the COVID-19 pandemic has not only disproportionately affected people of color but, pointed out how the healthcare system is failing non-white residents of the city, including negative impacts on mental illness, and life expectancy.
Lightfoot said systemic racism in health care is “literally killing us here in Chicago,” according to a report by CBS Chicago, before going on to say that racism has invisible forms “like the impacts on the psyche and other impacts on our bodies that are just as, if not more deadly.”
“At almost every point in our city’s history, sadly, racism has taken a devastating toll on the health and well-being of our residents of color, and particularly those who are Black,” Lightfoot said.
“Without formally acknowledging this history and reality, and the continuing impact of that infamous legacy, looking at the root causes of today’s challenges, we will never be able to move forward as a city and fully provide our communities with the resources that we need to live happy, vibrant, and fulfilled lives.”
Lightfoot made her comments in the North Lawndale neighborhood, near where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. lived with his family for six months in 1966 during a campaign against slums in what was a clear harkening to the Civil Rights leader’s work.
The city’s mayor cited statistics from the Chicago Department of Public Health, which showed that Black city residents’ mortality rate was more than double white residents and pointed out that life expectancy for Black Chicagoans is 9.2 years shorter than that of their non-black counterparts.
In an effort to even the playing field, Lightfoot will be diverting the COVID-19 relief funds to create “Healthy Chicago Equity Zones” where the $9.6 million in COVID-19 relief funds will be used.
Details of how the millions will be spent are still forthcoming as is the Mayor’s plan to increase life expectancy by decreasing gang activity.