The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) has planned a town hall event via telephone to bring attention to the coronavirus‘ disproportionate impact on Black communities in the U.S. Other Black leaders were expected to join members from the influential bloc of African Americans in Congress and the U.S. Senate during the Telephone Town Hall, which is scheduled to take place Friday afternoon at 3 p.m. ET.
People interested in participating were being encouraged to sign up by clicking here. Respondents were also invited to submit any questions, comments and/or concerns before the Telephone Town Hall by sending email to CBC.Events@mail.house.gov.
The CBC was joining civil rights groups in sounding the alarm about the coronavirus’ effect on Black folks, including and especially the racial health disparities. But while the coronavirus is primarily a health issue, the respiratory disease also known as COVID-19 was also expected to have consequences affecting everything from voting to being incarcerated to socio-economic status, and more.
The CBC has been heavily involved in the political process responding to the coronavirus crisis as an exponential number of Americans continue to be diagnosed and infected daily. The group commended the House of Representatives last week passing The Families First Coronavirus Act, which the CBC described in part as “robust legislation will provide critical provisions to combat the global Coronavirus pandemic, including paid leave, free coronavirus testing, unemployment benefits, food assistance, protections for health care workers, and additional funding to states to counter the economic impact of the virus.” The Senate on Wednesday passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
Now, the CBC and civil rights groups have argued, attention must be turned to some of the countries underserved communities — like Black folks.
“This pandemic reveals a terrifying reality — many Americans don’t even know if they are infected with COVID-19 because they are scared to go to the hospital and receive free tests and treatment that may saddle them with debt that could take years to pay off,” Rashad Robinson, the president of Color Of Change, a leading racial justice organization, said in a statement this week. “After years of Republicans, big pharma and major corporations fighting against paid sick leave legislation and medicare for all we are left with a crisis where disproportionately Black low wage workers are continuing to support the public without the health insurance or paid time off that would make us all safer.”
The NAACP is another organization working with policy-makers to consider the most marginalized communities. The famed civil rights group hosted an emergency town hall on Sunday to address the coronavirus and how communities can be best protected.
The CBC is fresh off its 2020 National Black Leadership Summit, which was held last month to bring sectors of the Black community together “to ensure that 2020 is a year of victory for our people.” The Congressional Black Caucus TeleTown Hall on Friday seems to be a natural extension of that important conversation that has become much more urgent because of the coronavirus. Click here to register.