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OLBC members urge DeWine administration to consider racial disparities in effects of COVID-19

April 15, 2020
Democratic Newsroom

State Reps. Thomas West (D-Canton) and Tavia Galonski (D-Akron) today joined State Sen. Cecil Thomas (D-Cincinnati) in writing a letter to Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted, and Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton outlining steps to combat racial disparities in health outcomes amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The joint letter is part of an effort by the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus (OLBC) to address racial and ethnic disparities in the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Past research on pandemics clearly shows disparities in health outcomes based on race and ethnicity, and we know that these health disparities exist outside of pandemics as well,” said West. “We must take steps to reduce the disproportionate burden of this pandemic on racial and ethnic minorities, especially those in low-income communities.”

“When I received confirmation of the disturbing details of how black and brown people were disproportionately affected by this pandemic, I was heartbroken. Although minorities are just a small portion of my district, every person impacted will feel the scourge of the coronavirus and Ohio has not been spared,” said Galonski. “I hope that with these recommendations, the administration will heed the call to put services in place for the most vulnerable Ohioans. Everyone is eager to get past this and get our workers back to work.”

Reps. West and Galonski and Sen. Thomas are co-chairing a subcommittee created by the OLBC to focus on a theme of “Building Up the Black Family.” Their recommendations to the administration encompassed the health, housing, education, employment, criminal justice, and economic development policy areas.

OLBC members urge DeWine administration to consider racial disparities in effects of COVID-19 (PDF)