COVID-19 will not Affect Everyone the Same

April 2, 2020
By Yanique Redwood

I have heard and witnessed a few disturbing “trends” in the wake of COVID-19. Madonna and others have proclaimed that COVID-19 is the great equalizer: It affects everyone the same. COVID-19 will not affect everyone the same. If we are not careful, this is the very moment that we will unintentionally exacerbate existing racial inequities.

As part of CHF’s Applying a Racial Equity Analysis blog series, I could write a post on COVID-19 from a racial equity lens, but this article does a brilliant job and says it all:

As we make rapid-fire decisions on resource allocation and response, now more than ever we need to use tools such as racial equity impact assessments (REIA). The instinct might be to disregard these kinds of tools for expediency, an understandable impulse but one we must resist.

Since time is not on our side and an extensive REIA may not be possible, here are just a few questions you should be asking as part of your COVID-19 response:

How does your response, even in the midst of crisis, contribute to long-term systems change?

For example, can your organization meet a basic need and educate community members about the kinds of policies that are being proposed and passed that could make their lives better in the long-run if made permanent?

How are the voices of impacted communities centered?

For example, can impacted community members be provided with stipends to join a resource allocation committee?

What data (quantitative or qualitative) are driving resource allocation? And what does that data tell you about the experiences of various racial/ethnic groups? How are women and LGBTQIA people of color particularly impacted?

For example, what are the particular experiences of immigrant women (cis and trans) of color right now?

What are possible unintended consequences of the decisions you might make?

For example, if you only or largely donate to nonprofit organizations with lots of existing capacity, what will that mean for the survival of smaller people of color-led nonprofits that are working on the ground to meet basic needs?

What additional disaggregated demographic data will you collect, track, and evaluate to assess equity impacts in COVID-19 response moving forward, and how will that data inform your future decisions when the crisis is over?

For example, were enough resources allocated? Did the residents most in need get them? How do you know?

How are the actions you are taking grounded in history?

For example, what do the historical experiences of Black people in the medical establishment (e.g., doctors not believing symptoms of Black people or the belief that we have higher tolerance for pain) predict will happen in this moment? How does that inform your actions?

2 responses to “COVID-19 will not Affect Everyone the Same”

  1. Venorica Tucker says:

    Starting from the highest government official to the boys and girls,men and women in the hood we are moving around like a group of confused lost people.A so called President and his gang of despicables engaged in the mass destruction of communities,we have to become proactive in order to bring a positive outcome to this mess

  2. […] During budget deliberations,COVID-19 response oversight, and emergency resource allocation discussions, you can answer the following questions (adapted from a Consumer Health Foundation blog): […]

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