Protests over police violence and racism continue across the country. And some state and local government leaders in New England are starting to announce changes. Boston’s Mayor Marty Walsh declared racism a public health crisis, joining several other cities and towns in the region.
“What I’m announcing today is the beginning, it’s not the end. There will be more announcements and more work that we have to do,” Walsh said at a news conference this month. He has proposed reallocating $12 million from the Boston Police Department’s overtime budget to public health, among other things.
In an interview with NEXT, Dr. Cato Laurencin described the different ways racism affects health, including racial profiling and the killing of Black people by police -- along with other pervasive problems that may seem more subtle, such as redlining in housing and unconscious bias in the medical setting.
“Racism is the prime preexisting and existing condition contributing to the negative health consequences of Black people,” said Laurencin, a professor of orthopedic surgery at the University of Connecticut and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities.