Amid the global COVID-19 pandemic, which is disproportionately impacting African Americans, Lyft has partnered with a variety of civil rights organizations to combat the spread of the novel virus in communities of color.
On Thursday, the ride-sharing company announced that it is offering complimentary rides to the grocery store, pharmacy, and medical centers for members of the NAACP, National Action Network, National Urban League, and Black Women’s Roundtable. Free ride credits will also be granted to members who commute to their jobs and workers on the frontline of the crisis.
“We are heartened by Lyft’s willingness to provide NAACP branch members with ride credits throughout April,” said Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the NAACP, in a statement. “This charitable service during this critical time offers our members, specifically those that are still working to sustain their local community, support, and travel to essential destinations.”
Members of OCA Asian Pacific American Advocates, the National Asian Pacific Center on Aging, the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce OCA Asian Pacific American Advocates, and the National Asian Pacific Center on Aging will also be provided free ride credits to get essential supplies, healthcare appointments, or volunteer to help those in need.
“We appreciate the opportunity to partner with Lyft to provide support for our Black Women’s Roundtable state-based networks to assist our members with much-needed transportation assistance,” said Melanie Campbell, president and CEO of the Black Women’s Roundtable. “Access to transportation in many urban and rural Black communities is a vital need for senior citizens and essential employees who are on the front lines providing services in healthcare, sanitation, grocery stores, food banks and so much more.”
COVID-19 is having a disproportionate effect on communities of color due to disparities in access to healthcare and transportation. Data shows that African Americans make up a higher percentage of essential workers who must commute to work. In addition, more African Americans work in lower-wage industries that are more vulnerable to layoffs when compared to the overall U.S population. Only 20% of black workers reported being eligible to work from home compared with about 30% of their white counterparts. Furthermore, 49% of Hispanics say they or someone in their household has taken a pay cut or lost a job—or both—because of the COVID-19 outbreak, compared with 33% of all U.S. adults.
“That’s why we are building on our existing LyftUp work with organizations around North America and announcing new efforts with leading national organizations that promote equity and economic opportunity for communities of color,” reads a statement from Lyft. “By partnering directly with organizations that have long-supported communities of color, we can continue to bring more equitable transportation options to communities when they need them most.”