Social and Economic Rights

Commentary: From the Ground Up: Solutions for Health Equity

How a New Partnership Can Overcome COVID-19 Racial Disparities

By James Head

From the early days of the pandemic, as stark disparities in low-income Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) communities in hospitalization, infection, and death rates began to emerge, we knew that this unprecedented health crisis called for an unprecedented solution. Now, more than 18 months later, the crisis has not only persisted, but became even more complex. For example, compulsory vaccination in schools, universities and indoor public spaces remains a contested issue, despite the highly contagious Delta variants making a case for the vaccine. Vaccine equity is also proving to be a serious racial justice issue, even as the pandemic spirals with these new ever-morphing variants. A look at the numbers makes that crystal clear.

Ban the Box

Prince White, Jahmese Myres and John Jones. Courtesy of Jahmese Myers.By Jahmese Myres with John Jones III

When John and I first met in 2014, I was working with Lift Up Oakland, a coalition of community and labor organizations leading a ballot initiative that would raise Oakland’s minimum wage to one of the highest in the country and provide sick time to all workers. John was working as a security guard at a fast food restaurant downtown and had recently been released after spending one-third of his life in prison. He was committed to creating a stable home for his son, and we bonded over a shared belief that obtaining a good job is a critical component of realizing this commitment.

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Expanding Sanctuary

Expand sanctuary convening in Philadelphia. ©2017 Steve PaveyBy Karina Muñiz-Pagán

The word sanctuary means a sacred place of refuge and protection where predators are controlled and hunting is illegal.1 What does sanctuary mean today when the Federal government’s renewed calls for “law and order” are euphemisms for predatory attacks on communities of color?

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