Last year, 2020, marked a year of nationwide protests with people across the country calling for an end to racial injustice and police brutality. Those demonstrations took place in the midst of a global pandemic.
Lois Brown, Director of Arizona State University's Center for the Study of Race and Democracy, says what we experienced in the past year not only tested us as individuals but collectively as Americans.
"There's just been so much that has exposed in a way how weak our democracy actually is, and that's a really frightening place to be because democracy is what makes us unique. It's what makes us an inspiring nation for so many. It's what makes us a destination for so many," Brown said.
Lawmakers in our nation's capital are working toward moving our country forward, healing our communities, and restoring hope.
Senator Elizabeth Warren along with Congresswomen Ayanna Pressley and Barbara Lee have proposed new legislation called the Anti-Racism in Public Health Act. If approved, the measure would declare racism as a public health crisis on the federal level and create new programs within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The programs are aimed at breaking down structural racism in areas like healthcare and law enforcement, but Brown says it shouldn't stop with one agency.
"Everybody's implicated now in thinking about how decisions that are informed by racism, shaped by racism, perpetuated by racism actually undercut the health of our citizenry, of those who reside within our borders, and the health of our democracy. So I think that is the most significant piece that comes out of this legislation in this proposal," Brown said.
Congressman Raul Grijalva is the only Arizona legislator to date who has co-sponsored the Anti-Racism in Public Health Act.