Brooklyn's Black Electeds Rally Around Coronavirus Disparities

Originally published in Kings County Politics

Blaming disparities in access to adequate healthcare, affordable housing, and education as making “this disproportionate impact probable,” the selected highlighting a blueprint plan to correct this disparity.

The plan seeks to implement widespread testing and data collection within black communities, more provisions of personal protective equipment and more access to Small Business Administration loans and grants for black-owned businesses. 

The Brooklyn leaders also incorporated further reasons for why they believed the black communities have been hit so hard, including subsequent actions in their proposal.

“Additional systemic disparities in the criminal legal system, public housing, and economic opportunity made it inevitable. As such, specific administrative and policy actions are necessary and we stand ready to assist in their implementation,” they wrote.

Not letting the opportunity pass to rectify this situation, the selected included housing affordability and stability for renters and reforms to the criminal legal system as a part of their proposal in the letter. 

“Thus far, black voices have been excluded from the decision-making in response to COVID-19,” the letter continues. “The convening of this task force, and subsequent adoption of the recommendations put forth by the Plan, seeks to rectify this injustice.” 

The demands come from 19 Brooklyn elected officials in a collaborative effort led by the U.S. Rep. Yvette Clarke(D-Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Flatbush, Kensington, Midwood, Prospect Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Park Slope) and State Sen. Zellnor Myrie, but every black elected official also signed onto the letter.Coronavirus doesn’t choose who it’s going to affect, but Brooklyn’s black elected officials are bringing to light the higher rates of deaths affecting black communities across Brooklyn in a letter to Governor Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio. 

“Black people are dying at a higher rate than the rest of New York while making up the majority of frontline workers keeping the state afloat. This disproportionate impact demands a commensurate response and is why we write today to demand that New York immediately convene a task force to specifically address the Emergency, Relief, Recovery, and Rebuilding needs of black New Yorkers in Central and South Brooklyn,” they wrote.