King County Board of Health declares racism a crisis

Racism was declared a public health crisis by King County’s Board of Health.

Along with the proclamation, the county’s health authority pledged to work more closely with community leaders to dismantle racism and disparate health effects for communities of color. Social, physical and economic conditions all play a part in determining whether someone thrives, or is unhealthy and dies early.

Derrick Wheeler-Smith, director of the county’s Zero Youth Detention program, said racism is a set of related systems. Disparities in one impact other areas of people’s lives. If the interdependence between different factors isn’t addressed, any solution to increase public health will be unsuccessful.

Part of the process for improving health is understanding historical data, and how the past affects people of color now.

During the coronavirus pandemic, the county has taken some steps to be more effective in its outreach. This includes providing culturally appropriate services during screening and testing, and conducting anti-racism training for health care providers. Information materials has been produced in 33 languages. The county is also working with community health clinics and other organizations throughout the county.




In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@issaquahreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.issaquahreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

The nose of the 500th 787 Dreamliner at the assembly plant in Everett on Sept. 21, 2016. (Kevin Clark / Herald, file)
Report: Boeing will end 787 Dreamliner production in Everett

Boeing declined comment on a Wall Street Journal story saying the passenger jet’s assembly will move to South Carolina.

Stock photo
5th Legislative District: Ramos, Moninski talk business and economy

The candidates squared off at an Issaquah Chamber of Commerce forum.

Washington State Capitol Building in Olympia. File photo
Surge in consumer spending eases state budget challenges

A jump in tax collections cuts a projected $9 billion shortfall in half, acccording to new forecast.

Issaquah plans to bring back some in-person learning

Kindergarten and first grade could return for some in-person learning by Oct. 15

High speed rail and hub cities explored in Cascadia Corridor study

A new paper outlines a potential plan for the region.

Photo courtesy of Mayor Mary Lou Pauly.
Mayor writes letter for Issaquah residents—100 years from now

The letter describes life in a pandemic, and the plans for future Issaquah

Should state cover school bus costs if there are no riders?

With funding tied to getting students to school, districts are uncertain how much money they’ll receive.

King County moves to Stage 2 burn ban

Outdoor fires, even barbecues or in fire pits, are now prohibited.

Image courtesy of the Washington Department of Natural Resources.
Massive wildfires incinerate WA

All state Department of Natural Resources lands were closed to recreational activities on Sept. 8.

Screenshot of the air quality monitor at 11 a.m., Tuesday, Sept. 8. Courtesy Puget Sound Clean Air Agency.
King County faces unhealthy air quality due to wildfire smoke

Weather monitors recommend people limit time outdoors, especially children, seniors and those with heart or lung disease.

Amazon adds more office space to Bellevue, now as many new jobs as HQ2

The office space for an additional 10,000 jobs, making it 25,000 coming to downtown, is expected to complete in 2023.