This week, the Workers Center for Racial Justice (WC4RJ) in partnership with Illinois State Representative Kambium Buckner hosted the Black Resilience Roundtable. At this virtual town hall event, we convened more than 150 community residents and members of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus for a public dialogue on the devastating toll the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the health and economic security of people of color across the state. Together, we explored long standing structural inequalities that underpin the disproportionate impact that this historic pandemic has on Black Illinoisans, and outlined WCRJ's racial justice COVID-19 policy agenda for the state.
Take a moment to view the highlights of this powerful community led event.
You can catch full coverage of the event next week on CAN TV at the following times:
Tuesday, May 19th @ 6 p.m. on Chicago cable channel 27
Wednesday, May 20th @ 8:30 a.m. 5:30 p.m. and 11 p.m. on Chicago cable channel 27
Thursday, May 21st @ 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. on Chicago cable channel 27
WCRJ has put forth an assertive COVID-19 response plan that explicitly addresses the most urgent policy priorities of Black Illinoisans in the midst of this public health crisis. Your voice is essential to ensuring that these critical measures are implemented by our elected officials.
Take 30 seconds to send a pre-written email to Illinois lawmakers, urging their immediate adoption of these important racial justice policies.
For more information about WCRJ's COVID-19 response agenda, please contact us directly.
As public health officials release preliminary details on statewide COVID-19 death rates, a harrowing, yet all too familiar trend has become evident: In communities across Illinois, deep seated systems of racial inequality have disproportionately exposed people of color to the fatal consequences of this historic pandemic. Staggering racial divides in generational wealth, employment opportunity, homeownership rates, and healthcare access account for the fivefold disparity in death rates between Black and White Illinoisans. Similarly, early economic indicators confirm that the COVID-19 crisis will only further exacerbate the abiding structural barriers to financial opportunity that Illinois’ Black workers, business owners, and households have endured for generations.
Read our Racial Justice Agenda for COVID-19 here.
Despite the projected magnitude of this unprecedented catastrophe and its astoundingly racialized impacts, initial government relief measures have proven to be, not only distressingly modest in scope, but also markedly “color blind.” Over the course of the past century, communities of color have witnessed how purportedly “race neutral” national recovery mobilizations have, in fact, expressly served to advance white prosperity to the exclusion of Black opportunity. Time and again, from the New Deal, to the post-war G.I. bill, to the 2008 financial crisis bailouts, U.S. domestic recovery policies have served to exacerbate racial inequality in every aspect of American society.
The preliminary government response to the COVID-19 pandemic forecasts a comparable trajectory. The national CARES Act falls disastrously short in providing sufficient levels of economic relief to American households, and leaves large populations of disproportionately Black individuals behind altogether. Moreover, by failing to account for the overwhelming institutional barriers Black business owners face in accessing financial credit, the bill’s small business recovery program will only serve to further amplify the nation’s alarming racial wealth gap.
In order to counter the devastating racialized toll that the COVID-19 pandemic will have on the health and economic stability of Black communities across Illinois, WCRJ has put forth an assertive COVID-19 response plan that explicitly addresses the most urgent policy priorities of Black Illinoisans in the midst of this public health crisis.
We need your help to ensure that these critical measures are implemented by demanding action from our elected officials.
Take 30 seconds to send a pre-written email to Governor Pritzker, Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton, and members of the Illinois Black Legislative Caucus, urging their immediate adoption of these important racial justice policies.
This past week, as people across the globe confronted the uncharted reality of the coronavirus pandemic, the Workers Center for Racial Justice (WCRJ) assessed the grave challenges that lie ahead, and developed a community centered response strategy. Against the sobering backdrop of this unprecedented health disaster, we will continue our fight for racial justice, reimagining how our society cares for its people and leveraging collective power to achieve a common vision of equity, opportunity, and liberation.
This historic global crisis will test the mettle of our country, and lay bare not only the faulty underpinnings of its unjust institutions, but also the true source of its enduring resilience and strength, which are rooted in our communities. In a moment in which the nation’s chief executive has utterly failed to exhibit the judgement, resolve, and humanity warranted by this deadly pandemic, it is incumbent upon our communities to assume the mantle of leadership.
In the weeks and months to come, WCRJ will be calling on our allies and supporters to join us in confronting this devastating public health catastrophe by advocating for racially and economically just response measures at the national, state, and local levels. As we continue to care for ourselves and our communities by adhering to safe social distancing guidelines, your support of WCRJ’s online advocacy efforts are more vitally needed than ever.
We urge you to take part in our initial COVID-19 rapid response action to protect the health and human rights of individuals impacted by local prison, jail, and law enforcement systems.
In just under a minute you can send pre-written emails to:
Urge Governor Pritzker and Lieutenant Governor Stratton to address the overwhelming threat that COVID-19 poses to the tens of thousands of individuals currently detained in Illinois' prison system
Demand that Mayor Lightfoot issue clear directives to the Chicago Police Department to protect the health, safety, and human rights of communities most targeted by the city law enforcement amidst the unfolding coronavirus pandemic
Support the Chicago Community Bond Fund’s powerful initiative to decarcerate Cook County jails in the name of public health
Your voice is critically needed, and we’ve made it quick and easy to send these important emails.