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Caucus of Black Elected Officials call racism 'public health issue'

Black leaders come together to address issue
Posted at 6:17 PM, Jun 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-02 19:19:54-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — After days of protests, Palm Beach County Caucus of Black Elected Officials is making their voices heard. They're demanding reform and accountability beyond law enforcement calling racism a "public health issue."

During a meeting of Palm Beach County commissioners Tuesday, the caucus came forward to address the frustrations behind both local and national protests.

"I have watched protests on TV," Lake Worth Beach Commissioner Omari Hardy said. "I have participated in marches and protests and prayer vigils myself."

One by one, caucus leaders said they have an agenda that includes ripping the roots out of the structural and institutionalized racism that has nothing to do with police brutality.

"I want my future son or daughter to look up [at the commission] and see someone that looks like their dad or mom," state Rep. Al Jacquet, D-Riviera Beach, said. "I want the judges to look the same and law enforcement. Until we're able to do that, we’re going to be asking for bandages."

Jacquet also said all institutions from the commission bench to the classroom should reflect the demographics they serve.

West Palm Beach Commissioner Cory Neering said he's pushing for policies that promote equity after the results of a federal disparity study.

"In terms of how we give contracts, zoning, all of those things are at the local level that people take for granted," Neering said. "But let me tell you, if they're not done with an equity lens, that continue to drive this issue of racism, quite frankly."

The Palm Beach County Caucus of Black Elected Officials said elected officials not willing to take decisive action to safeguard all lives will not be supported at the polls.