Health Equity and COVID-19
All families, neighborhoods, and communities will experience the coronavirus pandemic. Schools are closed across the country. Unemployment is at an unprecedented level. Our health is at risk in ways we never imagined as we balance physical distancing mandates with our mental and emotional health needs.
How we will experience coronavirus was in large part shaped before the pandemic. The policies and systems we inherited have had significant influence on the environmental conditions in our neighborhoods -- things like access to food, living wages, education resources, and availability of broadband. What coronavirus has made exponentially more visible are the inequities of our economy, healthcare systems, fragmentation of social supports, and outsized burden on Native communities and communities of color.
The vital conditions and urgent services we all need all the time to reach our full potential are the same resources we need in response to the coronavirus as we recover. In fact, this pandemic has provided an opportunity to move beyond recovery, and to reimagine our shared futures in ways that are more equitable.
The immediate response to coronavirus has also revealed the power of connection, the depth of our civic infrastructure, and the creativity of people to work together across boundaries in new and innovative ways.
As we begin to recover, we know that cannot return to life before COVID-19. Instead, we have an opportunity--and responsibility--to consider a different future. How can we bring the lessons learned, experiments that worked, and the connections we’ve built into our shared future? What does resilience mean to our neighborhoods, cities, communities, and states?
“Through thoughtful, targeted, careful recovery this nation can begin to address the root causes of the racial and ethnic devastation — physical and economic — that has sadly become the salient story of this crisis. To effectively advocate for this new world, it will be necessary to break out of silos and join together to demand and usher in a groundswell of liberating actions that begin to build an economy that respects and includes all, especially-low income people of color whose economic vulnerabilities have been laid bare. We will need transformative solidarity.” - Michael McAfee, President and CEO of PolicyLink
Dialogue is one pathway for lifting up often unheard voices, building empathy, and moving toward a shared vision. By listening to and being heard by others, we can start to tell our shared story--and strengthen our sense of belonging and connection. The Well Being in the Nation (WIN) Network Dialogue Guide: Life in the Time of Corona offers community change-makers a starting point for understanding the Coronavirus pandemic personally and collectively.