What would a response to COVID-19 that centers inclusion and equity look like?
May 27, 2020
Category: Public Policy
Tags: Community, Community-Building, Equity, Inclusion,
It’s a big question, and it’s one that NCCJ and many others are exploring. The issues being amplified by this pandemic are broad and complex:
- In education, there are massive concerns about food insecurity for students and disparities in technology and internet access. There’s also a need for specialized services for English language learners, students with disabilities, and many other populations.
- The medical field is grappling with which people have access to tests and equipment, how implicit biases impact quality of care, how pre-existing conditions and social determinants of health influence the wide disparities in outcomes, and much more.
- We’re seeing clear divides between who in our communities can work from home and who is required to go out in public.
- Reports about small business loans show greater access for those who have existing banking relationships and more stable financial positions. This is deepening existing class divisions.
- Older adults are experiencing higher rates of social isolation.
- The news regularly covers inequities connected to transportation access, law enforcement, and criminal justice.
- There has been a surge in intimate partner violence.
- Anti-Asian harassment, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, and xenophobia are on the rise.
Put simply, COVID-19 does not affect everyone equally. The most negatively impacted groups include people of color, immigrants, people experiencing poverty, older adults, people with disabilities, and other populations who experienced discrimination before the pandemic.
What does this mean?
This means that a comprehensive, inclusive, and equitable response must address the root causes of these inequities. It means we must engage with the people who are most impacted to co-create solutions. We at NCCJ are eager to collaborate with partners across our community in this critical effort to achieve a recovery that includes everyone.
Thank you to our friends at the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities (VCIC) for allowing us to borrow and adapt this blog post.