After a busy week of virtual sessions during the United States Conference of Mayors 88th Annual Meeting, the Children, Health, and Human Services Committee kicked off Friday to discuss critical public health challenges amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Chaired by Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney, the committee debated several resolutions that will set the Conference’s priorities in response to this public health crisis, as our cities begin to recover and again focus on long-term planning.
As Congress continues to debate federal aid in response to the ongoing economic challenges brought on by the pandemic, mayors passed a series of resolutions urging Congress to address food insecurity, which has been heightened greatly in recent months. The resolutions passed call on Congress to increase its support of food security programs during the pandemic, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and expressed support for measures in the recently passed HEROES Act that supplement this vital lifeline.
The committee also debated and passed two resolutions related to achieving racial equity and restorative justice in America. The first was sponsored by Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Chair of the Conference’s Working Group on Police Reform and Racial Justice, and it urged further examination of public data to better understand the public health disparities that COVID-19 has plainly exposed. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer led a second resolution that calls for further restorative justice reforms for America’s youth at all levels of government.
In addition to the resolutions that were debated and passed, the committee welcomed Dr. Anthony Fauci via video to speak about COVID-19 in the United States and what the administration has learned about the virus since the first confirmed case within our borders, as well as the development of a vaccine. Principal Deputy Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Anne Schuchat echoed the sentiments from Fauci’s video. She also talked about the state response to the virus and the continued importance of social distancing and wearing masks in public.
The resolutions approved by the committee head to the Executive Committee of the Conference next, and those that pass will become official Conference policy for the coming year.