By the Dayton Daily News Editorial Board
We can debate the merits of a whole host of topics as Americans. Racial equality and the need for it is not one of them. It is a matter of justice that not only impacts the lives of those oppressed through one system or another but also those on all rungs of the ladder.
The Dayton Daily News has partnered with a group that includes Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, University of Dayton, DATV, Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission, Learn to Earn Dayton, the Dayton Metro Library and Premier Health on “The Roots of Racism,” a three-part series that premiered Wednesday on our Facebook page.
The first part covers the 1700s through the 1800s and can be replayed on our Facebook page and our website.
The next event explores the community’s racial history in the early 1900s and will premiere at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 21.
The final presentation, the midto late 1900s, will debut at 6 p.m.
Wednesday, Oct. 28.
Each includes voices from community elders impacted by racism.
Racial disparities and the notion of systematic racism were thrust into the limelight around the nation this past spring following the death of George Floyd under the knee of a police officer in Minneapolis.
We agreed to join the “Roots of Racism” project because racism hinders and shortens lives here — in our community.
■ Black babies die at a rate four times higher than white babies, according to the 2019 community health assessment by Public Health Dayton-Montgomery County. ■ Blacks are often raised in neighborhoods that lack access to the same opportunities as white residents. More than 65% of Black children in our metropolitan area are being raised in very low opportunity neighborhoods that lack resources that would give them the same opportunities to succeed as white children, according to a recent study by Brandeis University says. Those resources include educational opportunities, parks and playgrounds, access to healthy food, health care and safe housing. ■ Data shows that the Dayton region fares poorer than most other large metropolitan areas when it comes to racial segregation as well as the difference between what blacks earn and what whites earn. Add to that the fact that studies have found that Blacks face a widening income gap compared to white residents and frequently die younger. Whites on average earn more, and between 2008 and 2018, the gap in annual median income between blacks and whites grew by $4,309. Black Ohioans represent 14% of the state’s population but make up 17% of the positive COVID-19 cases, 27% of hospitalizations and 17% of deaths, Ohio Department of Health statistics. This is an improvement from August, when Gov. Mike DeWine declared racism a public health crisis and said Blacks made up 25% of the positive cases, 32% of hospitalizations and 19% of COVID-19 deaths. In 2019, the Dayton area made its feelings about racism clear when a group affiliated with the KKK came to town. In the wake of Floyd’s death, organizations such as the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce have taken on the issue. In a statement signed by this newspaper and nearly 100 companies, the chamber stated support for efforts to declare racism a public health crisis approved by a laundry list of jurisdictions that include Dayton, Montgomery County, Yellow Springs, Trotwood and Piqua. Public Health–Dayton & Montgomery County passed a resolution in June declaring racism a public health crisis. Earlier this month, Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission, an organization that makes transportation planning, funding and policy decisions for Greene, Miami and Montgomery counties and part of Warren County, approved a resolution that calls for ensuring equity, diversity and inclusion in the organization. Resolutions and letters of support are only part of the solution. We are committed to staying engaged on matters of racial equality. We will call out progress and point to problems that must be addressed so that this community can move forward. We encourage you to be openminded and take part in activities that foster understanding and empathy. These are not easy challenges to overcome, but we believe they can be conquered.
Editorials are our Editorial Board’s fact-based assessment of issues of importance to the communities we serve. These are not the opinions of our reporting staff who strive for neutrality in their reporting.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Guest columns are submitted or requested fact-based opinion pieces of 300 to 450 words. Special consideration is made on length case-by-case. Proposed pieces should include links to any research or statistics cited. Have an idea? Contact Amelia Robinson at arobinson@DaytonDailyNews.com