Michigan Gov. Labels Racism Public Health Crisis

Michigan Govern Gretchen Whitmer is taking steps to address racism in her state and demanding changes. 

African Americans are four times more likely to die from the coronavirus in Michigan. In response to the disproportionate number of Black deaths during the pandemic, Whitmer has announced a Black Leadership Advisory Council within the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, which will be headed by Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist.

The Detroit Free Press reports, the Lieutenant Governor knows 23 people who died from COVID-19 alone, saying, “It is not enough to simply label an injustice. We have to formally take steps to replace injustice with justice.”

The goal of the council is to identify state laws or gaps in state laws that create or perpetuate inequities, and serve as a resource for community groups.

Additionally, to stop the spread of the coronavirus, on Tuesday (August 5), the Democratic governor issued a directive to state agencies, including the Michigan State Police, for the enforcement of masks in indoor spaces and outside when around crowds.

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Whitmer said in a news release, “Ensuring these executive orders are enforced across the state will protect Michigan families, small businesses, and the first responders on the front lines of this crisis.”

She continued, “This fight is not over yet. During the month of July, we saw an increase in positive COVID-19 cases in every region of the state. By allocating the appropriate and needed resources, we can continue to save lives and ensure we don’t have to move backward.” 

As for the Black Leadership Advisory Council, those who wish to volunteer can register here until Aug. 19, 2020. 

For the latest on the coronavirus, check out BET’s blog on the virus, and contact your local health department or visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

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