Boston Mayor Martin J. "Marty" Walsh.
Scott Eisen / Stringer / Getty Images
  • On June 12, the mayor of the American city of Boston, Martin "Marty" Walsh, declared racism a public health crisis.
  • Boston's declaration follows other American cities, including Cleveland, Denver, and Indianapolis that have done the same. So have San Bernardino County in California and Montgomery County in Maryland.
  • Walsh also announced that he would transfer $3 million (more than R50 million) from the Boston police overtime budget to the Boston Public Health Commission.
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On June 12, Boston Mayor Martin J. "Marty" Walsh issued an executive order declaring racism a public health crisis and an emergency.

The order proposes resubmitting the 2021 city budget with 20%, or $12 million (around R205 million), of the Boston Police overtime budget reallocated to other programs, including a transfer of $3 million (more than R50 million) to the Boston Public Health Commission.

The city will review police use of force policies, report the review's findings to the community while seeking feedback, and then seek to reform the policies, with a new task force set up to carry out this process. Walsh also endorsed the Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus' "10 Point Plan" which outlines potential federal, state, and municipal reforms.

The declaration set out eight strategies, including the creation of policy solutions to "dismantle systemic racism," and developing a health equity plan to address the root causes of the inequities that cause disparities in health outcomes. The city will also require public reporting of race and ethnicity data that documents health inequities in Boston.

"We're determined to accelerate our work toward systemic change to renew our nation and our city's promise of equal opportunity and justice for every person," Walsh said at a briefing outside City Hall, The Boston Globe reported.

Boston is not the first city in the USA to declare racism a public health emergency. According to the Guardian's Maanvi Singh, San Bernardino County in California, Montgomery county in Maryland, and city councils in Cleveland, Denver, and Indianapolis, have voted to acknowledge the crisis. State representatives in both Ohio and Michigan are expected to follow suit.

The decision comes as activists throughout the nation have called for cities to reallocate funds from the police to social sectors such as education and health care.

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