Hillsborough County commissioners declare racism a public health crisis

Hillsborough County commissioners unanimously voted Wednesday to declare racism a public health crisis. But it was Commissioner Les Miller, the only African American commissioner on the board, whose words seemed to stand out most. 

“If I make someone mad, I’m sorry. but [I'm] saying what’s on my heart,” Miller said.

Miller spoke unfiltered, recalling how racism has been a constant in his life.

“As a matter of fact, at a company I worked for, the thumb was put on me to be held down for any type of mobility, and right now the person that did that sits as the chief of staff for this president of the United States,” Miller said. “I’ve worked my butt off in this state and county for 50 years, still called the N-word. I know what this is all about,” he said.

Miller would go on to support the resolution, which aims to highlight how racial inequalities can lead to negative public health consequences, but not before criticizing what he believes were political motivations behind it in the first place. 

“The mere fact that it appears it came from politics and that’s not good,” Miller said. “Racism isn’t about politics, it is about hurt, shame and denied access,” he added.