CW to consider legislation declaring racism a public health issue

By Linda Dillman
Staff Writer

Canal Winchester residents are reaching out to city council in going on the record identifying racism as a public health crisis…and the council is ready to act.

During an Aug. 31 Canal Winchester City Council committee meeting, Councilwoman Jill Amos said residents have asked council to consider legislation similar to a resolution Lithopolis recently adopted.

“Our community is asking us to acknowledge racism is a public health issue and to stop turning a blind eye,” said Amos. “I think it is something we should consider so our community knows we stand with them.”

Councilman Chuck Milliken wanted language with more impact than a resolution.

“I think a resolution is more an empty gesture, where an ordinance is more an action,” Milliken said. “I want to make sure we get this right. I want it very centered and focused on Canal Winchester.”

Council President Mike Walker wants an expert from the Franklin County Health Department to attend a council meeting and “walk us through it.”

“I think it would be good to have someone come in and share more facts and details,” added Councilman Will Bennett. “What kind of solutions are they enacting?”

On May 12, the health department joined a growing number of cities and counties across the nation by declaring racism as a health crisis and that racism in Ohio and Franklin County affects the entire community.

According to the health department, racism, not race, also causes disproportionately high rates of homelessness, incarceration, poor education, and economic hardship for African Americans. An emerging body of research demonstrates that racism itself is a social determinant of health.

“Much of this work begins by understanding that race is a social construct,” said Dr. Arthur James, board of health member. “Our racial categorization of people has no biological basis. The genome project has proven to us that all humans are 99.9 percent the same.”

Franklin County Health Commissioner Joe Mazzola said racism may be intentional or unintentional, but everyone must address injustices caused by racism and support actions at all levels to ensure equal opportunity for all.

Amos said she will wait to create a template for legislation pending further input from the county and city council.

New municipal complex
TRIAD Architects Project Manager Jocelyn Krosky updated council on design development for the new municipal complex. She said offices, council chambers and tenant space can be accessed from a central lobby.

There is seating for 54 people in the council chambers with overflow space available in the lobby, along with video monitors to watch the action taking place inside.

Contract Services Administrator Bill Sims said there are also plans to have a more secure window situation in the lobby for customers paying bills/fees in person.

“That’s an improvement over what we have currently,” said Sims. “The council seating area is elevated and there’s also an executive session room. It should give you a little more room than what you now have.”

The kitchen in the community center space can accommodate equipment for an occupancy load of 120 individuals seated at round tables.

Previous articleA fresh air solution to exercise; also delivery trucks in Obetz addressed
Next articleGroveport Madison to consider Sept. 21 start for in-person classes


  1. Define ‘racism’….we need to be clear exactly what it means for the purpose of this ‘legislature’.
    What is the ‘cure’ you are going to state?
    I believe ‘racism’ is a matter of the heart and the cure cannot be ‘legislated’ .

    The Bible already states that not loving our brothers and sisters is a sin.
    The Bible already states that speaking evil against another is a sin.
    The Bible already states we are not to think more highly of ourself than another.
    The Bible tells us God created all of us in His image…color of skin is just that

    Since many do not believe God is who He says He is, then they believe they are their own god and therefore whatever they do is right in their own eyes.
    Until people see others with God’s eyes, change is not going to happen . Legislation will not improve the situation of people hating each other.
    People behaving badly will encourage discord.

    MAYBE…community projects to help someone….all invited to participate; come together for a common good , would allow for and encourage conversation amongst people to learn about each other and encourage one another. Protests do not do that. Riots and destruction surely do not improve any situation.

    A change of heart through Jesus Christ is the cure to racism.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.