(CBS DETROIT) – On Wednesday, Governor Whitmer announced a series of new initiatives to prevent racial inequity and discrimination in Michigan.

One initiative declares racism as a public health crisis in the state.

“This pandemic has confirmed and highlighted the deadly nature of these pre-existing inequities caused by systemic racism,” said Whitmer.

The governor says COVID-19 is more than 4-times as likely to take the life of a black Michigander than a white one.

“Though black people make up 14 percent of the population of the state of Michigan, but thus far we have made up 40 percent of the people who have died of Covid-19,” said Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchirst.

The executive order states people of color in Michigan are more likely to live in areas that lacks healthy food choices and essential resources. there are also higher risks to pandemics such as Covid-19.

“If you’re a black person in Michigan or a person of color in our state the pandemic has been even more difficult,” said Gilchrist.

Gilchirst says the executive order is a step in the right direction, now measures will be taken to replace injustice with justice. He says this starts with the formation of the Black Leadership Advisory Council of Michigan.

To apply to the Black Leadership Advisory Council visit Michigan.gov/appointments and click “Black Leaders Advisory Council” from the drop menu of the application. Applications are due by Wednesday, August 19.

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