Black communities have been disproportionately Impacted in everything from housing to employment. The COVID-19 pandemic exasperated disparities more than any other. Roughly 52% of COVID deaths in January 2022 were Black Chicagoans.
Faith and community leaders say the disparity seen in their neighborhoods reflects decades of disinvestment, according to CBS News. The Greater Auburn-Gresham Development Corporation (GAGDC) is one organization that is trying to change that.
In January 2022, the CEO of GAGDC Carlos Nelson shared proudly the renderings for what the Auburn Gresham Healthy Lifestyle Hub would soon look like with CBS 2.
Auburn Gresham community logged the first COVID-19 related death in Illinois. There have been more than 2,800 Black Chicagoans who have lost their lives to the virus since then.
The new hub will assist residents of Auburn Gresham and neighboring southside communities like Englewood and Chatham to have access to healthcare. “Access to quality healthcare or any healthcare for that matter,” has been a struggle for many Black communities acknowledged Nelson.
In April of 2020, Chicago founded the Racial Equity Rapid Response Team to address disparities that quickly emerged from the pandemic. A research analysis conducted by CBS 2 found that in that month 1,010 individuals lost their lives to the pandemic. Of those deaths, 522 or 52% were Black. Roughly 30% of Chicago’s population is made up of Black individuals.
The pandemic increased the seemingly impossible challenges, like a lack of access to healthy food, decades of disinvestment, and testing inequities community organizations have faced. COVID has created devastation for communities, schools, and congregations, among other places.
Recently a report found that despite local and state officials’ attempts the disproportionately impacted communities still have unmet needs. A sociology professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago and co-author of the report, Claire Laurier Decoteau, stated they “found in [their] report, [COVID] is not only an infectious disease but it’s also exacerbated already profound economic, housing, education, health and mental health precarity of people on the basis of race, class and legal status. The toll on Black and Latinx communities has been profound.”
This is why it is important to take safety precautions while out in public and to become knowledgeable about the COVID-19 vaccine. Experts are still unclear when the pandemic will end.
Written by Sheena Robertson
CBS 2 NEWS: ‘We’re Back There Again?’ Disproportionate Number Of Black Chicagoans Died From COVID-19 In Recent Surge; What’s The Solution? By Dorothy Tucker
WTTW: UIC Report Details Failures of Public Policy Responses to COVID-19 Pandemic in Chicago; by Kristen Thometz
CBS 2 NEWS: COVID-19 Disparities: First Peek Inside New Lifestyle Hub – One Solution To Ending Disproportionate Impact On Black Chicagoans; by Dorothy Tucker
Top and Featured Image Courtesy of Terence Faircloth’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inline Image Courtesy of Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association (MTEA)’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License