How COVID Has Affected Communities of Color
Examining why these communities have been hit so hardMorgan Carter
July 07, 2020
For the past few months, we've been hosting webinars as part of our Industry Support learning series. Topics have covered all facets of the current crisis, from deciphering government relief options, staying motivated in the face of stress, to writing your first cookbook, and more. During our last webinar, we partnered with Civil Eats, gathering community leaders and health experts to discuss the links between COVID-19 and the food supply chains, systemic racism, and health outcomes in Black and Brown communities.
1. The impact of COVID-19 was exacerbated by existing economic and health disparities in Black and Brown communities.
- Redlining and economic disinvestment created weak infrastructure in Black and Brown neighborhoods, leading to poverty and reduced access to healthcare, education, and transportation. Generational poverty, rising costs of living, and public housing created crowded housing conditions with little room for social distancing. Additionally, lower income neighborhoods are saturated with dollar stores and subsidized fast food places in lieu of grocery stores. This lack of access to nutritious foods led to higher rates of diabetes and heart disease, both of which are pre-existing conditions to COVID. And when it comes to healthcare, communities of color are more likely to be underinsured and have to grapple with unconscious bias to receive the care they deserve.
2. Black and Brown workers were more likely to hold jobs that made them essential workers. Due to the nature of their work—in places like grocery stores, nursing homes, and hospitals—many essential workers had to physically come to work and risk their lives compared to non-essential workers who were allowed to work from home. Crowded work environments and lack of adequate PPE left essential workers even more vulnerable.
3. Moving forward, local and state governments should implement policies to strengthen these communities by investing in the power of food as a way to treat underlying conditions instead of relying on medications; targeting groups through community based interventions, including health ministries in churches, hydroponic farming in schools, and nutrition-based programs in hospitals; and tackling food insecurity by securing land to build healthy food systems, strengthening the local supply chain, and creating equitable policies for farmers.
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