Sign-On: Racism is a Public Health Crisis in West Virginia

Target: 10000 Signatures Received: 323


Joining our YWCA sisters in cities like Cleveland, Columbus, and Pittsburgh, YWCA Wheeling is declaring racism a public health crisis and inviting our leaders to do the same. This petition will be presented to the West Virginia General Assembly. By signing on to this petition, you are helping generate increased resources and attention on racial disparities and how racism impacts health outcomes by encouraging the community to tackle racism through this lens.


We agree that Racism is a Public Health Crisis and commit to take urgent action because:

    • Race is a social construct with no biological basis.
    • Racism is a social system with multiple dimensions: individual racism is internalized or interpersonal and systemic racism is institutional or structural, and is a system of structuring opportunity and assigning value based on the social interpretation of how one looks, that unfairly disadvantages some individuals and communities, unfairly advantages other individuals and communities, and saps the strength of the whole society through the waste of human resources.
    • Racism causes persistent racial discrimination in housing, education, employment and criminal justice, and an emerging body of research demonstrates that racism is a social determinant of health.
    • More than 100 studies have linked racism to worse health outcomes.
    • In West Virginia, the highest excess death rates exist for African Americans at every stage in the life course.
    • The American Public Health Association (APHA) has launched a National Campaign Against Racism. Public health’s responsibilities to address racism include reshaping our discourse and agenda so that we all actively engage in racial justice work.
    • While there is no epidemiological definition of “crisis,” the health impact of racism clearly rises to the definition.

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