WATCH: Trans Minneapolis Councilwoman Andrea Jenkins On Racism As 'Public Health Crisis'
Andrea Jenkins, Minneapolis City Council (Ward 8) Vice President and the first African-American transgender woman elected to public office in the United States, appeared on CNN Tonight with Don Lemon on Thursday to offer her perspective on systemic racism and the impact of George Floyd's murder on communities of color.
Jenkins represents the district where Floyd was murdered. She opened up about how his murder and the murders of Black transgender women have personally effected her.
"Not only do I see these images on social media of Black and Brown men and women being killed by state violence, but also have to see trans identified - mostly Black women - who have been brutalized and murdered by the state, if not by the state, it has been sanctioned by the state," said Jenkins.
" So the trauma that is in our communities is devastating. And it's brought on by this really horrible disease that is racism," she added.
Jenkins expanded on comments she made during a press conference earlier this week where she declared racism as a public health issue.
"It creates having higher levels of high blood pressure, higher levels of diabetes, higher levels of the misuse of drugs and alcohol in our communities, and all of that is in response to the stress that is perpetrated by racism," said Jenkins.
"And if that's not a public health crisis, then I don't know what is."
Jenkins made national news on Thursday for her rendition of "Amazing Grace" during Thursday's press conference.
“Until we name this virus, this disease that has infected America for the past 400 years, we will never, ever resolve this issue,” Jenkins told those in attendance at Thursday's presser.
She also rejected the idea by some people who may view her outspokenness as race-baiting.
“If you don’t call cancer what it is, you can never cure that disease. And so in an effort to try and cure this disease, I am stating exactly what everyone else has witnessed, and that is racism.”
Watch Jenkins' appearance on CNN Tonight with Don Lemon below.