The Black community is being disproportionately affected right now — here's what you can do to help

Justin Chan
·4 min read

As the U.S. comes to grips with the global health crisis, the Black community has been disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

An April report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that among the 580 patients reported through its system COVID-NET and whose race or ethnicity was listed, 33 percent were Black. Those patients resided in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee and Utah, where the Black community comprises only 18 percent of those states' populations, yet equaled more than a third of the reported cases.

In Wisconsin, the numbers are even grimmer. As the Washington Post points out, the Black community makes up just 26 percent of the population in Milwaukee County (the state's biggest city) but constituted a whopping 70 percent of its virus-related deaths. In the state of Louisiana, the numbers were eerily similar: the Black community accounted for 32 percent of the population but 70 percent of the deaths.

In an interview with NBC, Dr. Ben Singer, an assistant professor of medicine in pulmonary and critical care at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, the disparity has had a lot to do with factors such as pre-existing health issues (such as high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma and obesity), along with limited access to medical services.

"A lot of this is being amplified because we're in the middle of a pandemic," he explained.

That point was not lost on Albany City Commissioner Demetrius Young of Georgia who recently and succinctly summed up the inequities that the Black community has long faced.

"Historically, when America catches a cold, Black America catches pneumonia," he said, according to the Post.

As CNN further notes, the effects of COVID-19 on the Black community go beyond the high mortality rate. Because Black and Hispanic workers are more likely than their white counterparts to work at jobs that pay per hour, they are also more vulnerable to layoffs.

"As families face job loss and income uncertainty resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, this report shows that Black and Hispanic families will bear the brunt of this economic crisis," Diana Farrell, president and CEO of the JPMorgan Chase Institute, told the network.

A report from the institute recently found that "median Black and Hispanic families earn roughly 70 cents in take-home income for every dollar earned by white families," adding that the creation of stronger policies and programs was necessary to alleviate the financial burden on those families.

As the nation comes together to combat both the health and economic effects of the pandemic during this time, consider helping these organizations and businesses that serve and provide assistance to the community, in addition to supporting local Black-owned establishments.

Millie Peartree Catering

Founded by restaurateur Millie Peartree and inspired by her mother, this catering service, whose clients include Delta Airlines, Gizmodo and YouTube, is currently doing its part to help healthcare workers by serving what it calls "Essential Meals." Peartree promises that 100 percent of the donations will go to "food prep, packaging and delivery." A $10 donation, for example, will get a meal for one essential worker. A $2,500 donation, on the other hand, can serve 250workers.

Children of Promise (CPNYC)

This New York-based organization specifically helps at-risk children. While its offerings include an after-school program, a wellness center and what the nonprofit calls a "trauma-informed practice," it has ramped its services amid the pandemic.

"Many of our children and families rely on the services provided by CPNYC," the agency notes on its website. "As such, it is extremely important that we forge forward together and support those who rely on us the most."

To that end, CPNYC's after-school counselors have conducted weekly check-in calls with every child it serves. The organization has also prepared hot meals for families in need and shared art supplies and academic packets with its participants.

Harlem Grown

Much like Millie Peartree Catering and CPNYC, Harlem Grown is also serving hot meals to those in need.

Founded in 2011, the nonprofit aims to increase access to healthy food for Harlem residents by operating local urban farms and educating the neighborhood's youth through garden-based development programs. To date, the organization has 12 urban agriculture facilities, which include hydroponic greenhouses and school gardens.

In an effort to provide assistance to families living in shelters, Harlem Grown has partnered with chef JJ Johnson of the restaurant Fieldtrip to launch HG Meals. The two parties are currently accepting donations through its GoFundMe. At $12 per meal, a $50 donation, for example, can feed four people.

Itefayo

This Brooklyn-based cultural center "empowers youth and families of African descent to achieve high levels of educational, professional and artistic excellence," according to its website. Supported by the New York City Department of Youth & Community Development, this nonprofit has six programs, ranging from cultural heritage to financial education training.

Though the center won't resume programming until fall, this is still a great opportunity to support an organization that matters.

If you enjoyed this story, you might want to also consider helping businesses in Chinatown.

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