5 Ways to Confront Racism and Support Communities of Color in the Wake of COVID-19
Communities of color are among the hardest hit by the new coronavirus pandemic. Viruses do not discriminate but the legacy of biased and racist systems in place set up an environment that makes people of color more vulnerable to the economic and health impacts of COVID-19.
To name a few of the inequities people of color are facing right now:
- In King County, community clinics that predominantly serve immigrant, refugee and indigenous people are not receiving the same kind of funding and access to supplies that other hospitals and clinics are getting.
- More testing is being done in predominantly white neighborhoods and doctors are less likely to refer African Americans for testing when they show up for care with signs of infection.
- Due to less access to equitable health care, many people of color have higher rates of the underlying health conditions that increase their chances of developing severe illness and death from COVID-19.
- People of color represent a large portion of essential workers, which puts them at greater risk for infection.
- People of Chinese, East Asian, Southeast Asian and Pacific Island descent are experiencing increased incidents of racism and violence.
- The lack of translation of critical information about the virus and how to get help with employment is a huge barrier to non-English speaking residents.
- Tax-paying, undocumented or mixed status families are not eligible to receive a stimulus check and other benefits.
5 Actions to Take to Confront Racism and Serve Communities of Color
There are many ways you can volunteer either remotely or in person (while following safety guidelines). Below are a few opportunities focused to serve our communities most impacted by COVID-19.
- Translate Webinars for the Community
- Sew Masks for Casa Latina Day Laborers and Domestic Workers
- Education and Craft Supplies for Refugee Children
- Visit our Volunteer page for more opportunities
2. Buy from Local POC-Owned Businesses
Here are a few local businesses that provide online and delivery services:
- Food: Here is a list of local POC-Owned Restaurants w/Food Delivery. (Tip: click the tabs at the top to show lists for different regions)
- Special shout out to the Seattle Kitchen Collective, a group of chefs and restaurants providing free meals in their communities.
- Retail: Here are a couple of local businesses that have online stores.
- Art: Support the many King County artists who are providing digital and remote art experiences.
Reach out to your representatives and make sure that they are making racial equity a priority when designing legislation to provide relief and aid for the COVID-19 crisis.
Speak out against racism and the spread of misinformation when you see it.
4. Listen, Learn and Act
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach; the obstacles different groups of people face are varied. Listen and learn from the organizations and groups in your area about the best ways to serve the people most impacted by COVID-19.
United Way of King County is raising funds to provide relief to people most impacted in these key areas:
- Rental Assistance: There was already a housing crisis that disproportionately impacted communities of color. Economic instability during this pandemic has made the situation much worse. United Way is focusing rental assistance to the communities that are facing the most obstacles.
- Food Relief: United Way is raising money to expand City of Seattle’s food vouchers program and services that provide free meals for students and families.
- Where it’s needed most: There are many unprecedented needs we’re seeing emerge all at once, your donation will provide flexible funding to areas that need it most.
Bonus: Don’t Forget to Take Care of Yourself
These times are hard for everyone. Remember to get help when you need it. Visit our COVID-19 Resource page for resources on how to get rental assistance, job and unemployment information, food and health services and more.
Heather KelleyApril 22, 2021
I appreciate all the resources you are shaaring, but I am puzzled by Mahogany Books and Birchbark Books being listed under "Local Resources." We do have two Black-owned bookstores in Seattle — L.E.M.S. and Estilita's Library
Replies to Heather Kelley
United Way of King CountyApril 22, 2021
Thanks for your comment Heather, we've updated the list!
United Way of King CountyApril 22, 2021
Thanks for your comment Heather, we've updated the list.