Civil Rights Leaders Call Out Congress To Address Disproportionate Impact of COVID-19 on African Americans

Civil Rights Leaders Call Out Congress To Address Disproportionate Impact of COVID-19 on African Americans

The rapid spread of the COVID-19, otherwise known as the coronavirus, has greatly impacted the lives of Americans across the country with sweeping changes happening overnight. The global pandemic has severely affected the world, especially the most vulnerable communities in America. Civil rights leaders have unified together to call out Congress for their lack of response and now want the government to address the disproportionate impact the virus has had on African Americans.

CEO and president of the National Urban League, Marc H. Morial, has joined other civil rights leaders in requesting an urgent meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer regarding racial equity in light of the current coronavirus response. The meeting will include president and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, Melanie Campbell, who is also the Convener of the Black Women’s Roundtable; NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson; and Rev. Al Sharpton, founder and president of the National Action Network. Together, they will insist that the coronavirus response legislation must take racial equity into account.

“As we often say, when white America catches a cold, black America gets pneumonia, and never has that metaphor been more apt,” Morial said in a press release. “Urban communities of color are likely to suffer the brunt of the health and economic impacts of the coronavirus crisis and any legislative response must contain targeted relief.”

While many companies like Apple and Google have made its staff work from home, other companies comprised of primarily low-income workers have not been as lucky and the response has greatly affected marginalized groups such as African American and other minority communities.

“Low-income workers, who are disproportionately African American, are the least likely to have paid sick leave,” Johnson said. “Black workers are more likely to face short-term layoffs or total loss of employment. How is the country going to address their plight?”

The leaders have said that the discussions would include the possibility of making some provisions of the response plan as permanent help for the community.