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CIVIL RIGHTS LEADERS CALL ON CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS TO ADDRESS DISPROPORTIONATE IMPACT OF CORONAVIRUS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:          Teresa Candori

                              212-558-5363 | tcandori@nul.org

 

CIVIL RIGHTS LEADERS CALL ON CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS TO ADDRESS

DISPROPORTIONATE IMPACT OF CORONAVIRUS ON BLACK AMERICANS


Marc Morial, Melanie Campbell, Derrick Johnson & Rev. Al Sharpton Question Availability of Testing and Care, Disruptions to Education and Employment


NEW YORK (March 16, 2020) – The nation’s leading civil rights organizations have

requested an urgent meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic

Leader Chuck Schumer regarding racial equity in the coronavirus response proposal.


Marc H. Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League; Melanie Campbell,

President and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and Convener

of the Black Women’s Roundtable; NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson and

Rev. Al Sharpton, Founder and President of the National Action Network, insisted that

coronavirus response legislation must take racial equity into account.


“As we often say, when white America catches a cold, Black America gets pneumonia,

and never has that metaphor been more apt,” Morial said. “Urban communities of color

are likely to suffer the brunt of the health and economic impacts of the coronavirus crisis

and any legislative response must contain targeted relief.”


“We’re concerned about the impact it will have on children who are out of school and

don’t have the broadband internet access they need for digital learning at home,”

Campbell said, “And comprehensive paid family leave for all is needed now more than

ever."


“Low-income workers, who are disproportionately African-American, are the least likely

to have paid sick leave,” Johnson said. “Black workers are more likely to face short-term

layoffs or total loss of employment. How is the country going to address their plight?”

Sharpton noted that urban neighborhoods and communities of color often lack access to

quality health care facilities.


“What efforts will be made to make testing freely available in urban and poor

communities?” Sharpton asked. “We need to make sure that the relief offered in any

coronavirus response plan does not bypass the communities most in need.”



The leaders said discussions would include the possibility of making some provisions of

the response plan permanent.