The United Church of Christ, a Protestant denomination in the US, has passed a resolution declaring racism a "public health crisis" during their biennial meeting.
The UCC hosted their Special Edition General Synod virtually on 11th June. This meeting is often an integral one, offering members of the denomination a chance to organize, voice concerns, and file resolutions for the leadership to consider.
One of the outstanding resolutions was calling for the UCC to "declare and respond to racism as a public crisis". The rhetoric of racism as a public health crisis is not a new one but used in hospitals, governments and universities to focus their efforts on dealing with systemic expressions of racism.
The resolution had been submitted by the UCC's Council for Health and Human Service Ministries and by the Council on Racial and Ethnic Ministries. According to Reverend Elyse Berry, one of the resolution authors, this revolution "set the tone" for all other businesses that came before the Synod.
"Racism hurts everyone," Berry stated in a press release. "It disproportionately targets people of color but harms people on a wider scale than we tend to talk about. Yet the negative impact of these factors is preventable." The resolution passed with 96 per cent of the vote.
The resolution claims that racism "undermines the physical, emotional, spiritual, and relational health and wellbeing of People of African Descent, Indigenous Peoples, and other People of Color." The resolution included specific references to the medical disparities created by Covid-19 in lower-income communities.
In light of these inequities, the resolution asked that UCC churches educate their members and advocate for policies that would address the previously mentioned medical inequities, including several Democrat-driven bills in Congress. These include the Anti-Racism in Public Health Act, a bill that would create a "Center on Anti-Racism in Health" as part of the Center for Disease Control.