Concerned African American community members, are requesting your support and participation in engaging Sacramento’s elected officials around the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the African American community.
COVID-19 issues impacting our communities range from the loss of employment/income, inadequate access to available testing, and a lack of effective community education regarding the virus and potential resources. It’s urgent that we push for the resources our community deserves. You can join in the effort to advocate for OUR community.
Please review the letter below and if you agree with the letter and would like to support this effort simply fill out the form to add your name and send an email to the leaders listed above.
Thank you for your support and participation.
OPEN LETTER TO MAYOR STEINBERG, SACRAMENTO CITY COUNCILMEMBERS, AND THE SACRAMENTO COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
These are unprecedented times. The COVID-19 pandemic is revealing a new reality for people all over the world. Travel has come to a standstill; businesses have closed their doors; school buildings and churches have been shut down; health care is struggling to meet unprecedented demand; sporting arenas and concert halls are silent, and technology has become an even more vital part of our existence and survival. Meanwhile, as people struggle to “shelter in place” in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus, millions of people worldwide are facing hunger, infection and the real prospect of dying from the disease.
The residents of Sacramento have not been immune to this new reality. Our entire community has been impacted by the virus. Many people don’t know where to turn for basic needs such as groceries, shelter, financial support, and health care. Not surprisingly, even at a time when all communities are suffering, the African American community is disproportionately experiencing the negative consequences of the pandemic when compared to other racial and ethnic groups. In many respects, the pandemic has exacerbated the generational disparities Blacks face in areas such as health care, education, employment, transportation, technology, economics, housing and more. Now, more than at any time over the past 50 years, the demand for accurate information and access to comprehensive health, economic support and services within our community is a matter of life and death.
While we recognize that at this moment, our elected officials and city and county executives are working to support the entire community, these challenging times require our leaders to intentionally focus on their most vulnerable residents. Blacks are disproportionately suffering from the coronavirus, and early statewide health data shows that while Blacks are infected with the virus at proportional levels to our population, our mortality rate is about double per capita when compared to that of our counterparts. Our concern is that unless there is focused education, testing and treatment, many lives will be lost that could have been saved.
We respectfully request that the following be addressed and implemented immediately:
- Open multiple COVID-19 testing sites in areas where the target population can access them — with particular attention given to our homeless population;
- Improve access to health services as the mortality rate for African Americans appears to be double that of their counterparts;
- Ongoing release of demographically segmented data related to COVID-19 infections and deaths;
- Launch a targeted community outreach and education campaign to motivate and inform the African American community to participate in the testing and treatment services and to take steps to protect themselves and their families;
- Establish regular and transparent dialogue with the African American community about the availability of state and federal resources that will be received by the county and city to address the impact of the virus;
- A commitment by law enforcement not to criminalize African Americans while adhering to COVID-19 precautions, such as wearing masks;
- Establish an African American small business investment fund to ensure the equitable distribution of business relief funds in order to maintain the Black business sector; and
- Convene an African American COVID-19 Committee to help inform steps the city and county will be taking to address the health crisis as it related to the African American community.
The signers of this letter, who are representatives of the African American communities throughout our city and county, on this date of April 27, 2020, are urging all of our elected officials and administrators to step up in support of the most vulnerable in our community during this crisis. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
Fill out the following form to have this letter sent to Mayor Steinberg, the City Councilmembers and County Board of Supervisors: