Where Do We Go From Here? Beyond the Racial Data
Widespread disparities have been revealed. What now? A deeper dive: Black-owned businesses, Georgia's conflicted reopening, nurses and postal workers, the pandemic's impact on African nations & more.
Speak Patrice Presents: Coronavirus News for Black Folks is an independent newsletter that aims to empower our community by sharing coronavirus (COVID-19) news and stories as they relate to the Black Diaspora.
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Where do we go from here?
Over the past several weeks, most national news publications in the U.S. and U.K. have reported on the disproportionate number of COVID-19 cases and deaths among Black communities, proving what many in our community have know all along: “When white folks catch a cold, Black folks get pneumonia.”
So what now?
Countless journalists, activists, scientists, scholars, and community organizers have been consistently calling out these disparities for the past several decades, pointing to systemic racism as the source. But the sudden attention this glaring issue has recently received supports the patronizing belief that recent statistics gathered by state institutions trump both first-hand accounts and histories. Why do those in power demand statistics to admit what we’ve long since known to be true? Our cross-cultural experiences, our generational suffering, our disparate deaths?
This dismissal of Black people’s lived experiences and realities as truth is a gaslighting that only fuels the source of these disparities and dampens the solutions, all of which are rooted in an overhaul and reimagining of the “normal” that so many seem intent on returning to. Today’s newsletter highlights more specific explorations of how these COVID-19 disparities are impacting industries with high Black employment, as well as states, cities, counties, and countries that haven’t received a national spotlight. There are also examples of individuals and communities creating their own solutions to pressing COVID-19 needs. This leadership has been vital amid a racial time bomb that many still seem to be puzzled by despite so many receipts.
The aim of Coronavirus Newsletter for Black Folks isn’t to simply push news about and for Black communities during this pandemic. Rather than simply scraping the internet for articles, I comb through as much news as possible every week, reading each story to make sure it (1) provides valuable, actionable, and insightful information, (2) recognizes a diversity in publications by representing a wide breadth of news sources, particularly in our communities, and (3) adds a new dimension to the larger story of the pandemic.
Our mission is to offer a nuanced, inclusive, empowering look at how this moment is impacting our communities, and emphasize the humanity within the data. Thank you for supporting this newsletter and please consider taking this survey to help us stay on track.
— Patrice Peck, founder
📰 Today’s Black Folks Bulletin: 51 stories
🔥Must Read: 8
MUST READ STORIES
Gerald Imray, Associated Press
“…the middle of a crisis is not the time you can suddenly build up an infrastructural base that you need 20 or 30 years to build.”
Natalie Hopkinson and Andre Perry, City Lab
“Congress allocated just $10 million to the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) out of the $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill.”
Jon Greig, Blavity
“…African American men began reporting incidents of racial profiling for adhering to the CDC’s guidance…”
(The nursing, psychiatric, and home health aide workforce is 88.3% women and 37.2% Black, according to 2019 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. For comparison, Black women constitute 13.7% of the U.S. population.)
Shannon Palus, Slate
“The ones that really bother me are when companies like Walmart call us heroes when they’re not protecting the health of their essential workers, and they’re essentially giving us more patients.”
Jessica Moulite, The Root
“Could you even imagine a group of black people with guns drawn on the steps of a government building? Exactly.”
Related & Highly Recommended: Right-wing protesters now getting the Tea Party treatment — fawning press coverage
“Everyone’s Coughing, Everyone’s Agitated” (Rikers Island Prison Complex)
Julia Craven, Slate
“…with this whole pandemic going on, everything is, ‘Wash your hands,’ and, ‘Do this.’ But it doesn’t make sense, if we don’t have the necessities to keep ourselves sanitized.”
Bemnet Meshesha, theGrio
“It is time to reshape the conversation around any life lost to COVID-19 with respect to the tremendous value they have already added and would have added.”
U.S. NATIONAL NEWS
Danielle Kurtzleben, NPR
“…a survey from the left-leaning Data for Progress found that 45% of black workers have lost jobs or had their hours cut, compared with 31% for white workers.”
Jallicia A. Jolly, Ms. Magazine
“What remains largely absent from discussions about ‘health care heroes’ and COVID-19 are the structural constraints that many Black women navigate as they give care while fighting to survive illness and inequalities.”
(Black people — especially women — constitute 20 percent The United States Postal Service workforce, compared to ~13% of the country. They also represent the majority of USPS workers in most cities associated with social and economic disparities.)
Alanis King, Business Insider
“…USPS spokesperson Dave Partenheimer told Business Insider that 1,219 employees had tested positive for COVID-19, in addition to ‘some deaths.’”
Tanya A. Christian, ESSENCE
“‘Businesses of color were locked out of round one of the SBA PPP, and the Senate’s new proposal fails to ensure that they will have access to the new $310 billion.’”
(Ramsey Orta filmed Eric Garner’s murder by an apparent police chokehold in 2014 and was arrested on drug charges following an alleged campaign of targeted police harassment.)
Stephon Johnson, New York Amsterdam News
“‘We do not know whether he is sick, if correctional officers have made good on their threats to give him COVID-19, or if they are messing with his food […] All we know is that he had a really high temperature, and that he was transferred to medical.’”
Amaya Woodley, Blavity
“‘I’m going to take a moment to dedicate this legislation to my dear sister who is dying in a hospital in St. Louis, Missouri right now, infected by the coronavirus…’”
Amara Walker and Maria Cartaya, CNN
“Three times they were sent back home and into their families and into their communities, being positive but not deemed worthy of a test […] This is my reality. This is all our reality as pastors. And we will not be silent anymore.’”
Kenneth J. Williams Jr., BLAVITY
“…if I become ill, I would go into preterm labor and have the baby early. I would be delivering a premature infant into a hospital that is potentially full of very sick people and that doesn't have ventilators or doesn't have the resources needed to support my daughter.”
Amber Butts, ESSENCE
“…at least 101 youth and 55 juvenile detention staff throughout the nation have tested positive for COVID-19, the Chronicle of Social Change reports.”
Kai Wright and Veralyn Williams, WNYC Studios
“Kai Wright speaks with Arline Geronimus, a public health researcher, about what happens to black people’s bodies — on a cellular level — while living in a racist society. Plus, we hear from senior producer Veralyn Williams’ dad, an essential worker in New York who’s doing his best to weather the pandemic.”
Tomi Akitunde, Mater Mea
“[If] there is something big going on or somebody's trying to change the plan, you always want to know why so that you can know, ‘Is it legit or am I being pushed into something out of someone else's comfort or discomfort?’”
Shalwah Evans, ESSENCE
“We live off of touch and feel and giving all that what we have artistically to our clients and our people. So it can be a really trying time for us.”
Kimberly Wilson, ESSENCE
“Crump made a personal commitment to donate Nike sneakers to five nurses…”
Rebecca Alter, Vulture
“In our major cities, African-Americans comprise a disproportionate number of workers in these indispensable occupations, and they will need mental health support and personal wellness care, including testing and medical services, food supplies and food deliveries, both during and after the crisis.”
Blue Telusma, theGrio
Kenya Evelyn, The Guardian
Ashleigh Atwell, Atlanta Black Star
Carrie Teegardin and Brad Schrade, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Joe Jurado, The Root
Keith Matheny, Detroit Free Press
Marlei Martinez, KCRA
Danny McDonald, The Boston Globe
Jessica Williams, nola.com
NEW YORK —
Sydney Pereira, Gothamist
Ashley Smith, FOX59
Trish Turner, ABC News
NORTH CAROLINA —
Brandon Goldner, WCNC
PHOTOS: Lockdown In The World's Most Unequal Country (South Africa)
Tommy Trenchard, NPR
“Khayelitsha is the largest of Cape Town's densely populated townships, with a population in the hundreds of thousands. Residents say it has been virtually impossible to act on the government's health warnings.”
Ethnic minorities dying of Covid-19 at higher rate, analysis shows (United Kingdom)
Caelainn Barr, Niko Kommenda, Niamh McIntyre and Antonio Voce, The Guardian
“The Guardian analysis found that of 12,593 patients who died in hospital up to 19 April, 19% were Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) even though these groups make up only 15% of the general population in England.”
Lameck Masina, VOA
“Even some landlords have vacated (evicted) the health workers that are renting their houses to say, ‘No you can’t be in my house, you guys are infected, so, you will infect my house.’”
Simon Marks, VOA
“Travel restrictions meant to slow down the coronavirus are hurting efforts to combat swarms of locusts that are ravaging crops in East Africa, posing a serious threat to regional food security.”
Michael Arceneaux, Essence
“…no matter how much your earning income is, chances are you’re only one or two checks away from nothing.”
LeRhonda S. Manigault-Bryant, The New York Times
“She has not been, and most likely will not be, tested for the virus or receive a diagnosis of having it. Still, hers is the body of all the black people at the bottom of the pandemic.”
We Need An Agricultural Revolution (Jamaica)
Peter Espeut, The Gleaner
“…no government since independence has identified any crop or set of crops to plant on the tens of thousands of acres of idle sugar lands.”
Bakari Sellers, The Philadelphia Tribune
“…we must approach recovery efforts with a racial lens that takes into account the disparities that put us in this situation.”
Lovoria Williams and Alona H. Pack, Kentucky New Era
“As restrictions are encouraged, we urge Kentucky nurses to recognize that while compliance is a challenge for everyone, the cultural context of compliance are varied and we caution nurses to avoid perpetuating a narrative that seems to blame Blacks for dying.”
By Emma Cott, Ben Laffin and Elie Khadra, The New York Times
Peter J. Rickards, The Roo
Corina Knoll, Alexandra Eaton, and Benjamin Laffin, The New York Times
DeMicia Inman, theGrio
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Thank you for reading. And thank you for the second look, Treye and Tian Jun.
Stay tuned for more “Essential & Black” interviews and original content on how Black salons, stylists, and nail technicians in Georgia are navigating the reopening of their industry and whether they’ve decided to accept clients again.
Stay safe and take care ✊🏿💗