More progress seems to be being made in the 6ix. During a Toronto Board of Health meeting on June 8, the board voted to recognize anti-black racism in Toronto as an official public health crisis. City councillor Joe Cressy wrote a letter to the board calling for the shifted perspective on black issues.

The City of Toronto's board of health members officially recognized anti-black racism in the city as a public health crisis as an agenda item on Monday, June 8.

The agenda item's summary reads: "Racism has numerous consequences: Black Toronto residents are more than twice as likely to be living in low-income households than residents who are not a visible minority, and 44 percent of Black children live in poverty, compared to 15 percent of non-racialized children."

It adds: "Black people in our city experience racial profiling and anti-Black discrimination within our institutions, along with higher rates of precarious employment and unemployment, significant poverty, and overrepresentation in the criminal justice, mental health, and child welfare systems."

And in his letter which proposed the motion, Councillor Cressy cites several factors like race, income, and housing, among others.

Cressy argues those facets have placed the black community in Toronto at great risk due to the "disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on communities with higher percentages of visible minorities."

"This is tragic, it is unacceptable, and it needs to change. In order to adequately address anti-Black racism in our city, we must approach it from a public health perspective," states Cressy in his letter.

The agenda item passed without amendment on Monday.

Aside from labelling it a public health crisis, the board's decision includes affirming their commitment to addressing "social determinants of health" through the support of policies and programs that help the black community and marginalized groups like employment, housing, the criminal justice system and more.

The third note asks the Medical Officer of Health to reschedule a three-hour training session for the Board on Anti-Black Racism and other issues.

According to Cressy's letter, that initiative had to be temporarily scrapped due to COVID-19.

The move comes after a wave of protests in Toronto in memory of the deaths of Regis Korchinski-Paquet and George Floyd.

More protests have been seen through downtown Toronto and across the world in response to police brutality.

Now, finally, anti-black racism is officially considered a public health crisis in the 6ix.

*This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes.

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