By Brittany Graves

Covid-19 has put a spotlight on some ever-present disparities that have always existed within our nation. The most vulnerable communities are now increasingly more vulnerable. While, everyone together is feeling the effects of Covid-19, black and brown people are hit with a double whammy.

The root cause of these disparities can be linked to environmental injustice and systemic racism. People of color experience greater housing disparities, are more likely to live in places with poor air quality, and face greater healthcare inequities. These inequities increase the likelihood that black and brown communities have higher rates of preexisting health conditions like asthma and high blood pressure. So, when a health crisis strikes among people who already have respiratory related health concerns and less resources, a pandemic has immense fatal effects.

Many of my friends and family are looming over the idea of my hometown, Austin, TX, having reopened several businesses on May 1 when Covid-19 cases have not receded, and numerous states have also started reopening with warning from experts. There are mixed emotions about the eagerness to hang on to the leftovers of an old normal that does not consider systemic issues where the most vulnerable, many of which are “essential workers,” will take the hardest blow. As state leaders decide to reopen, let us resist by standing in solidarity with the most vulnerable who have no choice to stay home and find new ways to support those who need it most.

Questions to consider:  

  • Is protecting the economy more important than risking more lives and abandoning the vulnerable?
  • How can I stand in solidarity with the most vulnerable amidst states reopening?

What you can do:

Excerpt from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1968 book, Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?  

“A true revolution of value will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. We are called to play the Good Samaritan on life’s roadside; but that will be only an initial act. One day the whole Jericho Road must be transformed so that men and women will not be beaten and robbed as they make their journey through life. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it understands that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.”

Prayer:

Creator God, in these trying and difficult times help us open our eyes to costly paradigms that we can change. Help us ask questions that raise awareness to systemic and unjust disparities. Help us move toward a place of solidarity over complacency and carelessness. As our reality changes amid Covid-19’s effects on our nation and worldwide, let us cling to what will make this world anew and bring equity to vulnerable groups that are fighting to stay alive. Amen. 

 

Brittany Graves is associate coordinator, Public Witness & Advocacy, American Baptist Home Mission Societies. She welcomes your input at Brittany.Graves@abhms.org

Photo by Callum Blacoe on Unsplash