All of us in Cook County and across the nation are going through a reawakening. A reawakening from the worst of COVID-19 and a reawakening to the urgent need to address racism and inequity in our society.
We’re coming out of our homes to socialize, to get our hair cut, to go to work and to protest.
Hundreds of thousands or us have walked our streets to demand change and fair treatment for all, sparked by the cruel and unjust deal of George Floyd. But, his death is just the last of many, and the inequities in our society have caused the death of countless people of color, not just from violence and police brutality, but from poverty, inadequate and inaccessible health care, lack of access to healthy food and housing, and lack of economic opportunity.
While police brutality and longstanding unfair treatment of people of color must be addressed, unless we simultaneously address poverty, economic and educational disinvestment, poor housing and lack of access to health care and nutritious food, we will not make systemic change.
COVID-19 is a case in point. The pandemic has overwhelmingly negatively impacted communities of color. The statistics show it – more infections and more deaths in these communities. Why is this? Some reasons are: sporadic access to health care throughout their lives and lack of insurance; underlying health conditions like diabetes, asthma and hypertension; poor access to nutritious food and healthy housing; and fear of seeking care due to cost an legal issues like immigration.
Faced with all of this, it is hard to fathom how to move forward. Yet, there is opportunity for each of us to make small investments and to take steps to improve life for people of color. Certainly, we have opportunity in addressing the Coronavirus pandemic. We know that key to curbing the spread of the virus is testing, contact tracing and isolation of those infected and exposed. That requires expansion of testing and sustaining the testing sites in place right now in communities of color. Cook County Health has performed nearly 8,000 tests and hundreds more are being done every day at sites at our hospitals and health centers.
We know we must keep testing and engage even more community members. However, we need help to underwrite the cost of testing: supplies, machines, contact tracers and more. Please consider a donation to the Foundation to support investment in expanded and sustained testing at Cook County Health.
Each investment we make, each time we take action to support people of color, we take a step toward greater equity for all.