Last year, the Franklin County Commissioners highlighted the role that race and racism play in the unequal poverty rates
in our community. Last week, we formally recognized racism as a public health crisis
, and today we recognize it as a threat to our community. In Central Ohio as in most of the country, neighbors separated by only a few blocks sometimes might as well be living in different worlds. The economic disparities, housing options, quality of a public education, availability of good jobs, and even the kind of policing each neighborhood receives vary widely depending on who lives on which block.
With the rise of cell phone video, all of us can watch the inevitable outcomes of these inequities in real time. Just this week, we’ve seen a black man killed in an encounter with police and a white woman lying to the police about a black man who’d simply asked her to leash her dog; and that doesn’t even make it an unusual week.
We don’t have all of the answers to these very big issues, but we see them and we are committed to working with our community on solutions. Peaceful protest has a long and important history in our country, and we will not condemn it. We do call on both the protestors and the police to exercise restraint. The safety of all of our community members must be our highest priority. Addressing the systemic inequities that have led us to this point must be our ultimate objective.