Leslie Herod

State Rep. Leslie Herod of Denver talks to a constituent during the 2020 legislative session.

Rep. Leslie Herod said Friday she was relieved and pleased that the governor expanded the state's 2-1-1 to allow employees and heath care patients to report discrimination.

Herod first raised the issue on April 8 and called on the governor to address the unique challenges facing Coloradans of color.

On April 17 Gov. Jared Polis created the Health Equity Response Team.

Made up of community leaders and advocates for the poor across the state, the response team says people of color are more likely to contract coronavirus. The reasons include their work in low-paying jobs deemed essential.

People of color tend to have limited access to affordable healthcare, child care and transportation, as well as being more likely to "face unsanitary conditions in prisons, jails, and detention centers. Due to these types of inequities, people of color face chronic disease health disparities, leaving them with a higher risk of dying due to COVID-19," the response team says on its website.

On Friday, Herod applauded the governor's "bold and concrete steps to identify and address disparities" faced by Coloradans of color related to the pandemic.

“Expanding the 2-1-1 hotline to cover worker protections and medical bias will give us additional data to provide a rapid and targeted response to communities hurting the most from this pandemic," Herod said in a statement. "We know bias within medical settings leads to poor outcomes for people of color, and now we’ll be able to collect those complaints and act swiftly to address them.

"It is also critical that the state has a way to track employers who are not providing protective equipment to their employees or complying with basic health and safety standards."

Herod chairs the House Finance and House Legal Services committees, well as serving as vice chair of the House Judiciary Committee.

She also chairs the Colorado Black Democratic Legislative Caucus and the Arts Caucus. She also is a member of the LGBTQ Legislative Caucus

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