June 2020

Letter: Racism thrives when people are shut out of living in some areas

Courtesy of The Columbus Dispatch
June 7, 2020

I thank the Franklin County Board of Commissioners, Mayor Andrew J. Ginther of Columbus and Columbus City Council for recognizing that racism is a public health emergency. And I thank The Columbus Dispatch for editorials supporting an end to racism in Columbus and the need to create a just and equitable community.

Racism is not just in Columbus. It is throughout the region. To understand the history of our region over the past 50 years, read the book “Getting Around Brown: Desegregation, Development and the Columbus Public Schools” by Gregory S. Jacobs.

To address institutional racism in our region, we need to also address where we live and the lack of opportunity low- and moderate-income people have when they cannot live in all areas of our region. The growth of suburban municipalities has led to the income and racial segregation and the public health emergency we have today. This makes socioeconomic mobility and proper health care difficult to achieve for everyone.

Stephanie Hightower, president and CEO of the Columbus Urban League, called on businesses to create an equity agenda. This is needed. In addition, every municipality in the region needs to create an equity agenda that enables people of all races and incomes to be able to live, thrive and prosper in their communities.

The equity agenda requires proactive changes to zoning codes, fair housing regulations for protection from income discrimination, transportation systems, policing practices, education systems (with access to technology and Wi-Fi) and access to health care and social services so that all are welcome in every corner of our region.

Amy Klaben, Bexley

Project facilitator, Move to PROSPER

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