The National Action Network along with civil rights and faith leaders across the country have penned a letter to Congress calling for swift passage of state and local aid in the next stimulus bill.
The letter is signed by Rev. Al Sharpton, president and founder of the NAN, and 13 civil rights organizations and religious leaders.
The group sent the letter to Congress noting the government’s reluctance to help African American communities. The group says the lack of funds to these communities will do even more harm to the people in these areas that have been broken by the pandemic.
“According to the Centers for Disease Control, African-Americans constitute 20 percent of all U.S. coronavirus deaths,” the letter states. “Although we are only 12 percent of the U.S. population … The economic harm that communities of color will suffer, if the federal government fails to act, will also be devastating.”
The letter is signed by representatives from the Conference of National Black Churches, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc., the Black Women’s Roundtable Human Rights
Public Policy Network, the National Urban League, and others.
The letter urges Congress to inject funds into the public sector, which “has been one of the nation’s most
dependable employers of African-Americans, lifting generations of black families into the middle class.”
Additionally, the group condemned Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for suggesting that states go bankrupt.
“When the Majority Leader of the United States Senate casually says we should let states go bankrupt or that he will not provide support for state and local governments without also providing a liability shield for corporations, that is a slap in the face to the hardworking public sector employees,” the letter states. “From nurses to corrections officers to school custodians – who are putting their lives on the line to keep their neighbors safe.”
The letter also cites a New York Times article from March that states that the coronavirus relief package in March included “a small change to tax policy [that] could hand $170 billion in tax savings to real estate tycoons.”
The coronavirus pandemic has had a significant effect on African Americans. Unemployment among African Americans has more than doubled to 16.7%.
A Pew Research Center survey shows 48% of African Americans say they “cannot pay some bills or can only make partial payments on some of them in April.