Mayor, Vice Mayor Introduce Resolution to Declare Racism Public Health Crisis, Encourage County to Back Commissioner Mahoney in Following Suit

Mayor Derek Dobies and Vice Mayor Arlene Robinson today announced plans to introduce to the City Council a resolution to declare racism a public health crisis and to put forth measures to combat racism and build equity in the City of Jackson. They also called on the Board of Commissioners to back a similar measure put forth by Commissioner Daniel Mahoney, that was quietly removed from Tuesday’s County Board of Commissioners agenda.

“Racism is all too real in our community, and you don’t have to look too hard to see the damage that it does to the public health,” said Vice Mayor Arlene ROBINSON. “I want people to know that the City is going to lead on this issue, but we are also imploring the County Board of Commissioners to stand in solidarity with us — that’s why we ask them to support Commissioner Mahoney’s resolution.”

On Friday, County Commissioner Mahoney posted a video expressing his frustrations that the resolution he drafted to declare racism a public health crisis was removed from the agenda, and that the meeting was changed from an in-person meeting to an online-only meeting. This change stands in contrast to the Board’s passage of Resolution №04–20.13 Option B which conflicted with the Governor’s Stay At Home order and affirmed support for the Jackson County Sheriff to enforce state law at his discretion.

“This is a time for our community to lead. We’re the first city in the state to have a Black Lives Matter mural painted across a street because people in our city have strong voices and they want to be heard,” said Mayor Derek Dobies. “We owe it to past and future generations to make meaningful changes in policy and procedure — and that can start with admitting that racism is a public health crisis in Jackson.”

Mayor Dobies, Vice Mayor Robinson, and Commissioner Mahoney have a history of collaboration to build equity in the community. All three quickly condemned the racist remarks of Jackson County Sheriff Steve Rand, who continues to remain in office and has been both absent and silent to the community discussions around policing reform.

All three participated this weekend in the painting of a “Black Lives Matter” mural in front of Elnora Moorman Park on High Street between MLK Jr. Dr and Milwaukee — crossing the MLK Jr. Equality Trail.

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Proud father. Devoted husband. Mayor of the City of Jackson, MI.