Ohio Democratic Party Declares Racism Is A Public Health Crisis, Supports Voting Rights And Safe, Fair And Accessible Election

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COLUMBUS — The Ohio Democratic Party executive committee voted unanimously today to declare racism as a public health crisis and to support voting rights and call for a safe, fair and accessible election this November.

“At this critical inflection point in our nation’s history, African Americans are confronting two crises — the coronavirus pandemic and police violence — that are disproportionately impacting their community and bringing racial injustice to the forefront with peaceful demonstrations in cities and small towns in every state and around the globe,” said Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper. “It’s on all of us — not just our African-American leaders, friends and colleagues — to call out the public health crisis that is caused by and exacerbated by systemic racism.”

The executive committee today endorsed a resolution that echoes similar resolutions being introduced, passed or considered by:

Comments from Congresswoman Joyce Beatty:

“We have to look at legislation. Certainly, you can’t legislate away hatred or racism. So we have to look at it as a systemic problem, with many years and years — or better yet — decades and decades of us being held back, of discrimination and of suppressing the vote.”

The executive committee also approved the following appointments:

Democratic National Committee members

Tim Burga

Becky Higgins 

Mark Mallory

Ron Malone

Valarie McCall

Joe Rugola

Nina Turner 

Democratic National Convention Party Leaders and Elected Officials (PLEO) delegates

Biden

Wade Kapszukiewicz

John Cranley

Andrew Ginther

Stephanie Howse

Kenny Yuko

Vernon Sykes

Paula Hicks Hudson

Armond Budish

David Leland

Nickie Antonio

Emilia Sykes

Bride Sweeney

Sandra Williams

Brigid Kelly

Tina Maharath

Sanders

Trevor Elkins

Tara Mosley Samples

Tristan Rader

Democratic National Convention at-large delegates

Biden

Scott DiMauro

Sean Grayson

Anthony Caldwell

Gary Martin

Shannon Hardin

Aftab Pureval

Dontavius Jarrells

Ryan Puente

Leo Almeida

Rick Neal

Kevin Boyce

Dean DePiero

Ted Strickland

Melissa Cropper

Lisa Chanana

Georgine Welo

Jeniece Brock

Patricia Frost-Brooks

Elizabeth Brown

Shayla Favor

Jessica Miranda

Angela Shuckahosee

Megan Kilgore

Cindy Demsey

Sanders

Jamie Dixon

N. J. Akbar

Diane Morgan

Tammy Dressel

Lisa Nguyen

Democratic National Convention at-large alternates

Biden

Pablo Manon Mateos

Kristin Boggs

Sanders

Jo’el Thomas-Jones

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Editor’s Note: The public health and voting resolutions are below. The executive committee agenda and resolutions are linked here.

Ohio Democratic Party

Resolution 2020-09

Declaring Racism a Public Health Crisis

WHEREAS, racism is a social system with multiple dimensions — individual racism that is internalized or interpersonal and systemic racism that is institutional or structural, and is a system of structuring opportunity and assigning value based on the social interpretation of how one looks; and

WHEREAS, race is a social construct with no biological basis; and

WHEREAS, racism unfairly disadvantages specific individuals and communities, while unfairly giving advantages to other individuals and communities and saps the strength of the whole society through the waste of human resources; and

WHEREAS, systemic racism is a root cause of poverty and constricts economic mobility, negatively impacting health care, criminal justice, education, housing, employment, food and nutrition and many more issues that determine health outcomes; and

WHEREAS, at this critical inflection point in American history, African Americans are confronting two crises — the coronavirus pandemic and police violence — that are disproportionately impacting their community and bringing racial injustice to the forefront with peaceful demonstrations in cities and small towns in every state and around the globe; and

WHEREAS, the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Association and American College of Physicians have all stated that racism is a public health issue and condemned police violence; and

WHEREAS, Black babies die at more than twice the rate of white babies in Ohio; and

WHEREAS, Black women account for 17 percent of Ohioans giving birth, but represent 34 percent of pregnancy-related deaths in the Buckeye State; and

WHEREAS, Black Ohioans have an average life expectancy that is several years less than white Ohioans; and

WHEREAS, Democratic leaders across the state have repeatedly called attention to these inequities and demanded action; and

WHEREAS, Congresswoman Joyce Beatty has offered a resolution recognizing racism as a national crisis and the need for a truth and reconciliation process; and

WHEREAS, the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus, led by President Stephanie Howse, has introduced legislation that would declare racism a public health crisis; and

WHEREAS, the Franklin County Commissioners, Cleveland City Council, Columbus City Council, Hamilton County Commissioners, Akron City Council, Summit County Council, Toledo City Council and Lucas County Commissioners have considered or will consider resolutions to declare racism a public health crisis in their communities; and

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Ohio Democratic Party State Executive Committee recognizes that structural and systemic racism is embedded and entrenched in every aspect of our nation, declares unequivocally that racism is a public health crisis and calls on Gov. Mike DeWine and Ohio’s legislative leaders to join in our declaration and enact equity in all state policies.

Ohio Democratic Party

Resolution 2020-10

Supporting Voting Rights and a Safe, Fair and Accessible General Election

WHEREAS the right of the citizens of Ohio to cast their ballots in fair and free elections and to have their votes counted is held sacred by the Ohio Democratic Party;

WHEREAS any reduction in access to early voting will disproportionately disenfranchise people of color, low-income citizens, the elderly, and our military, who often rely on flexible, early voting periods, especially amid a pandemic;

WHEREAS increasing the difficulty of voting by mail/absentee voting will disproportionately affect people of color, low-income citizens, health-compromised citizens, the elderly, and our military, who rely on absentee ballots to overcome obstacles to voting in person and to secure their health and safety;

WHEREAS repealing or expanding statutory ratios of voters to voting machines or voters to precincts and/or consolidating polling locations will result in long, often unmanageable lines and a far less safe and orderly election, undoing the bipartisan consensus reached after the 2004 Ohio debacle and a commitment to never allow that scenario to occur again;

WHEREAS refusing to allow multiple secure ballot repositories (drop-boxes) in large counties will reduce Ohio citizens’ access to safe voting and promote the traffic and lines seen in the April Primary;

WHEREAS refusing to use funds from the federal CARES Act and the Help America Vote Act to send ballots to every registered voter in Ohio and/or to pay return postage for ballot applications and ballots is contrary to the intention of those Acts;

WHEREAS removing the ability of public health experts and officials to create safety guidelines for in-person voting, if necessary, will unnecessarily force voters to risk their health to exercise their right to vote and will reduce participation in the election;

WHEREAS restricting nongovernmental voter participation organizations directly affects people of color, low-income citizens, and the elderly, as these non-profit organizations are particularly likely to reach and engage these underserved citizens;

WHEREAS Democrats in the Ohio House and Senate have proposed numerous common sense bills and amendments to strengthen both in-person and mail-in voting, including on-line ballot applications, mailing postage-paid ballots to all voters, additional in-person early voting locations, multiple secure drop-boxes, counting ballots postmarked by Election Day, and allowing 17 year old High School Juniors to train and work at polling locations;

WHEREAS Democrats holding public offices at all levels around Ohio, as well as others who respect voting rights, have an opportunity to assist in protecting the right to vote in Ohio against the onslaught of purging by serving as hubs of non-partisan voter registration all across the state;

WHEREAS the 2020 General Election will be the first U.S. Presidential Election since 1982 without the protection of a consent decree forbidding the RNC from engaging in organized voter suppression;

WHEREAS an unfettered RNC plans to return to the vote-challenging, poll-watching, and intimidation practices that were repeatedly found to be in violation of the Voting Rights Act;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Ohio Democratic Party condemns the voter suppression practices and techniques described in this resolution and commits unequivocally to fighting voter suppression in all forms, whether that fight occur at the state level, or at the county board of election level; and

BE IT RESOLVED that the Ohio Democratic Party supports all of the heretofore described common sense reforms proposed by Democratic elected officials and urges the 133rd Assembly of the Ohio Legislature and the Ohio Republican Party to join in committing to fight voter suppression in all forms and to promoting best practices in expanding access to the polls for all eligible Ohioans; and

BE IT RESOLVED that the Ohio Democratic Party urges elected Democrats at all levels of public office to open hubs of non-partisan voter registration, where appropriate,  between now and the last day of registration;

BE IT RESOLVED that this Resolution be disseminated to all County Chairs, Democratic elections officials and Democratic officeholders in the State of Ohio.


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