San Bernardino County has now declared racism a public health crisis.
"The time to do what is right is no longer urgent. The time is now. Black boys and black girls deserve to be healthy and whole as they become Black women and Black men," a resident said. "Where my family and I won't fear my brother and his friends going out to the mall without being racially profiled."
Passionate testimony came from members of the African American community, calling racism in San Bernardino County a major crisis. On Tuesday they pleaded with county supervisors for change.
Moments later, supervisors unanimously voted to declare racism in the county a public health crisis.
This means an equity group will now be formed consisting of Black community leaders and experts from all over the county.
Their job will be to examine the effects of racism, including healthcare, housing, education and workforce development.
The declaration comes on the heels of the recent George Floyd police brutality protests which highlighted disparities in justice and quality of life in communities of color.
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County supervisors say acknowledging the problem is important but actually doing something about it is key, and their goal is to find ways to stop systemic racism.
"I am so proud that we have an opportunity to bring about institutional change rethinking revamping revitalizing the entire San Bernardino County community," Josie Gonzales said.
Morris-Dugbartey is a counselor at Blu Educational Foundation which helps minority groups get access to higher education. She said she believes the declaration is a much needed step toward equality.
"We face racism on a daily basis whether it's at work, at school, walking down the street," she said. "I do hope and pray that San Bernardino County all community members take the time to educate yourself unlearn what you've learned. Learn for the future and plan for the best."