LAKE COUNTY -- The Lake County Board of Commissioners adopted a resolution declaring racism a public health crisis in Lake County at its meeting June 24.

Lake County Clerk and Register of Deeds Patti Pacola told the board that although they have not seen a real issue in Lake County, there have been groups gathering in protest of systematic racism.

"There is another one planned for July 2 on the courthouse steps," Pacola said. "As leaders of the community, we thought this would be a good way to show our support."

The resolution states that "systematic racism unfairly disadvantages" individuals and communities, and "causes persistent racial discrimination in criminal justice, social capital, voter suppression, education, employment, food access, mental health and health behaviors, socioeconomic status, environmental exposure, and access to health services, housing and public safety."

It further states that "there is clear data to illustrate that racism negatively impacts the lives of black people in Lake County," which has been highlighted by the current COVID-19 situation and protests against police brutality, and that leading medical associations have declared racism a public health crisis.

It states that the BOC, as a governmental body, has a "responsibility to ensure an optimal quality of life for all black Lake County residents."

"Therefore, be it resolved," it continues, "that the Lake County Board of Commissioners hereby declares racism as a public health crisis that affects all members of society on a local, state and national level and demands action from all levels of government and society."

The resolution "advocates for relevant policies that improve health in the black community and support local, state and federal initiatives that advance social justice," and encourages other governmental bodies to take steps to address the long-term impact of systematic racism.

The resolution was approved unanimously.