WHILE THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT READIES FOR A POSSIBLE PANDEMIC, THE IMPLICATIONS FOR THE BLACK COMMUNITY CANNOT BE IGNORED.
For more than a month, panic and perplexity have plagued Americans who are fearful of a possible coronavirus pandemic. Furthermore, the response from the United States government has done very little to quell the rising angst.
According to the World Health Organization, the first known cases of coronavirus 19 were reported in Wuhan, China, in December of 2019, and more than two and a half months later, a coordinated effort to handle the outbreak within the U.S. has yet to fully formalize. Last week, while the country was focused on the 2020 primary in South Carolina, Melanie Campbell, a D.C.-based civil rights activist and convener of Black Women’s Roundtable, assembled a panel of women to discuss the “power of the sister vote.” While there, Carol Joyner, Director for the Labor Project for Working Families and Family Values, broke down what that meant for African Americans, specifically.
“How many people today saw something on the news about the coronavirus? Raise your hand,” Joyner instructed the nearly 100 attendees who joined the discussion in person at Charleston’s Longshoreman Association building. “This is happening in a moment when 40 percent of the people in the United States do not have a single paid sick day. So the CDC says, ‘Stay home so that you don’t spread the disease.’ But if you stay home, you’re likely not to get paid.”