This weekend, the E Pluribus Unum family lost ...
Together, we mourn the death of George Floyd, yet another African-American begging for his life, for the ability to breathe, on film. And we are reflecting. People, particularly white people, continue to ask us what they can do. What can you do?
This week, our country passed an unfortunate and grim marker--100,000 counted deaths due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As the numbers have grown each passing day and week, we have yet to fully mourn all that we are losing. These are our neighbors, family members, and coworkers. In most instances, family and friends have been unable to appropriately grieve and remember loved ones lost.
As mayor of New Orleans, I found that ...
Many Americans are having to face decisions that were unthinkable just two months ago. Essential worker protections are lacking. Over 35 million Americans have filed for unemployment aid since the President declared a national emergency on March 13. Tens of millions of Americans may lose employer-sponsored healthcare as they lose their jobs. And lines stretch for miles at food banks in states big and small.
As officials begin the process of trimming their budgets, reducing services, and furloughing employees, they must do so with the careful application of a racial equity lens or they may only worsen the inequities that this pandemic has laid bare. Some key questions to ask when making equitable decisions are: Who benefits? Who is burdened? Who is missing? How do we know?
The impacts of COVID-19 have made information essential to our daily lives on a scale we have not seen before. Something positive we can take from all of this news is the long overdue narrative we are seeing for frontline workers. Doctors, nurses, janitors, caregivers, law enforcement officers, grocery clerks, mail carriers, and delivery drivers have all been justifiably lifted up as heroes, and we are learning about their stories. It shows that when a true narrative is told, we can do better.
I know that the last couple of months have been hard and that communities have suffered tremendously because of COVID-19. The consequences will be with us for some time. One of these consequences is the financial stress that will be felt by states, cities and counties. Budgets will be stressed like never before.
More people voting can only be a good thing for a healthy democracy. As we outlined in our Divided by Design report, we heard loud and clear that protecting democracy is important-- not only because of the ways Black Americans have been disenfranchised, but also because of the way our current democratic processes keep Black and White communities divided.
Pandemic is too small a word for what we’re engaged in at this moment. Our nation is going through a very dark period that will precipitate major changes in the way we learn, work and live. And so we must all brace for impact. I am reminded of Thomas Paine who said, “These are the times that try men’s souls.”