COVID-19 Is Not An Equalizer – The reFRESH

April 17, 2020

Art by Micah Bazant

Written by Jackson Bird

This week, we’re taking a look at how the pandemic is affecting different communities in different ways. Spoiler: this is not an equal opportunity pandemic.

What we’re checking out…

Black Americans are suffering from COVID-19 in the highest numbers. Latinx people are the hardest hit by pay cuts and job losses. Asian Americans continue to face heightened racism and coronavirus-related harassment. As the pandemic rages on, it’s shining a bright light on systemic issues that many had been trying hard not to see for far too long.

While the CARES Act was a decent first step to provide relief to millions of Americans, not everyone is getting a stimulus check. Undocumented people, ITIN filers, and people who made too little to file taxes are all ineligible––creating even further rifts in an already unjust system. Read more from Sukhi Samra and Stockton, California Mayor Michael T. Dubbs.

With insufficient solutions to an already disastrous situation, it’s unsurprising––though no less horrifying––that researchers are predicting a “poverty epoch.”

While during the Great Recession the majority of people who lost their jobs were men, this time it’s mostly women––and in particular, women of color. Emily Peck wrote a great piece for Huff Post about why this is happening and why it’s worse for many women than the Great Recession was for men.

And if you want to dive even deeper, Helen Lewis explored what lasting effects the pandemic may have on feminism and on individual women’s lives.

While there’s a lot of upsetting news out there, we can be grateful that a lot of organizations are already hard at work trying to get ahead of some of these challenges.

Oxfam Canada outlined what a global feminist response to the pandemic looks like.

She’s The First explains how the strains of the pandemic can affect the health, safety, education, and futures of already vulnerable girls around the world––and how you can help.

You can also donate to the Know Your Rights Camp COVID-19 Relief Fund to provide food, shelter, personal protective equipment, bail, and more to black and brown communities in need. Here’s Colin Kaepernik to tell you more about it.

The National Domestic Workers Alliance has started a new collaboration with Refinery29 called Caring Through Coronavirus, which shares the stories of caregivers and domestic workers on the frontlines.

They also have a Coronavirus Care Fund you can donate to. Bonus: If you donate, you’re eligible to be a guest on Dylan Marron’s new podcast “Small Triumphs, Big Speeches” in which guests perform over-the-top speeches for completing tiny tasks, like vacuuming their apartments. Public speaking and supporting a good cause? Yes, please!

And on that note of public speaking… As more events go virtual, it’s crucial that organizers continue to prioritize inclusion and diverse representation––especially as many of the issues of the day disproportionately effect people from marginalized communities. Having your event online isn’t an excuse to suddenly have all-white panels.

Our reFRESHing Talk of the Week is the recently published TED Talk from public policy expert Heather C. McGhee about how racism makes the economy worse for everyone.

The latest from our speakers…

Ai-jen Poo wrote for TIME about the unique needs of domestic workers and caregivers during this time.

Aimee Allison was featured in Forbes sharing her thoughts on how women of color are being affected by the pandemic.

Rob Gore is continuing to keep us updated on what it’s like being an ER doctor on the frontlines in Brooklyn. Follow his diaries on Instagram.

Dena Simmons’ latest piece explains how COVID-19 is illuminating existing inequalities in education and how to work towards fixing them.

Jamil Smith spoke exclusively with Senator Kamala Harris about her proposal to save the election.

Simran Jeet Singh wrote about the lessons we can all learn from the Sikh community and how they’re coming together in acts of service.

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