COVID-19 (also known as coronavirus) is impacting the entire world, but it’s having an even greater impact on our most vulnerable communities.
Black families, low-income families, the elderly, and those who are disabled or ill have the most potential to be impacted by coronavirus. They also have limited resources to avoid getting sick.
Visits to a doctor’s office or hospital are unaffordable for those without insurance. Supplies like hand sanitizer and soap have run out at neighborhood stores across the country, making supplies impossible for people without cars to obtain. And, those who work as cashiers, nurses, bus drivers, train operators, and other crucial jobs have the highest chance for exposure to the virus with the least flexibility to work from home or take sick leave.
Here are 5 Ways You Can Take Action
In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, news outlets like The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times are keeping crucial updates about coronavirus behind costly paywalls and subscriptions. This is an unjust act: these news outlets and academic outlets are limiting information to increase their profits. We must stop publications from withholding critical information from those who can’t afford to pay these costly fees.
It is not a coincidence that Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, and Jeff Bezos are some of the wealthiest people on the planet. Companies like Amazon, Microsoft, and Facebook, have relied on major tax breaks, subsidies and city infrastructure paid for by taxpayer dollars to make billions of dollars in profit. Those same companies have created housing crises in every city they are based in, making countless Americans more vulnerable to the devastating impacts of coronavirus.
Billionaires like Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg have the means to pay for coronavirus testing for the entire country several times over. And with health officials recommending as many people as possible are tested as soon as possible, it is essential that these billionaires step up and pay their debt to society. That’s why we’re calling on Zuckerberg, Gates, and Bezos to pay for coronavirus testing for all.
At a time when people are being quarantined left and right, and coronavirus is spreading at speeds faster than hospital staff can treat, it is necessary for people to stay home if they’re feeling sick. But, many stores, restaurants, and companies who hire part-time and hourly workers — workers who are disproportionately Black and low-income — do not provide paid sick leave for staff who aren’t full-time, forcing many people to show up to work despite the current health crisis, which can increase their chances of becoming ill or spreading an illness to someone else. Demand that states provide paid sick leave for part-time and hourly workers so that our people can protect themselves and others from spreading illnesses.
Millions of Black children from low-income households rely on breakfast and lunch from their schools. But, as coronavirus spreads, more and more children are not going to be allowed in school. This is a huge problem for the many Black families who receive subsidized school lunch; their children may go hungry without access to school-provided meals. Tell your state to institute a plan to distribute meals to the families who receive subsidized school lunch.
Every day, people face devastating challenges like eviction, water shut-offs, and layoffs. And this is no different during the coronavirus outbreak: thousands of Black people work low-wage jobs, and already have difficulty paying their bills and their rent, with Coronavirus making these tasks that much more difficult. But, company owners, landlords, and utility companies do not seem to care. During this health crisis, they continue to lay people off, shut off families’ water, and evict people from their homes. Join us in demanding that governors across the country implement a moratorium on layoffs, evictions, and water shut-offs.
No matter how dire the situation, we will never stop fighting to protect our people!
This article shared courtesy of the Color Of Change, a movement to elevate the voices of Black folks and our allies, and win real social and political change.