SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) – A resolution declaring racism a public health crisis has been approved by a committee and is on the way to the San Antonio City Council for a formal vote.
Councilwoman Jada Andrews-Sullivan presented the draft resolution Friday to the Community Health and Equity Committee chaired by Councilwoman Ana Sandoval.
“We have to address the monster in the room,” said Andrews-Sullivan. “We have to address the demon that is before us, and we have to slay the dragon because we are Goliaths in this war and that’s what we’re doing by declaring racism as a public health crisis.”
Andrews-Sullivan, the only Black member on the San Antonio City Council, drafted the resolution with help from Sandoval and city staff.
“How can we speak to truly preserving and upgrading lives if we’re not speaking to the holistic features of a person’s lifestyle?” asked the District 2 Councilwoman. “If a person is stressed, their health is going to decline. If a person doesn’t have adequate housing, their health is going to decline.”
She said whether it’s Hispanics, Blacks, African-Americans, or Native Americans , the resolution is aimed at being inclusive as the city moves forward. The draft resolution, which is four pages long, notes the history of racism in San Antonio.
Andrews-Sullivan noted that her mother had to enter the back door at the Majestic Theatre and sit in the upper balcony, which was designated for Blacks. She also talked about Blacks not being allowed to drink from certain water fountains, and the councilwoman mentioned the historic desegregation of the lunch counter at the Woolworth store.
Black Lives Matter activist Marlon Davis urged the council committee members to consider “decentralizing” the police budget and reallocate money toward health and other needs in communities of color.
Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran suggested that the resolution also include a history of racism against Mexican-Americans, in particular, lynchings at the hands of Texas Rangers.
The Community Health and Equity Committee, which also includes council members Shirley Gonzales and Roberto Trevino, unanimously approved the non-binding resolution. It will now go before the City Council for a formal date, but no date has been.