The year 2020 was a challenging one, to say the least. In March, most of the world went into lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But, due to unenforced protocols, a lacking social safety net, and government incompetence, nearly 500,000 people in America have died from the virus. At the start of the summer, George Floyd of Minneapolis, MN, and Breonna Taylor of Louisville, KY, were murdered by the police. Their tragic deaths sparked mass protests against police brutality around the world and a renewed reckoning on race and racism. Last, but least for not our readers, we have a housing stability crisis exacerbated by the economic consequences of the pandemic.
A common thread of all these issues is race. A study by the University of Minnesota determined that the life expectancies of Black and Latino people would shorten by several years due to all aspects of the pandemic, while those of whites would shorten by less than a year. Police brutality is an issue that affects all Americans but disproportionately Native American, Black, and Latino communities. And evictions have hit Black women the hardest, with thousands being removed from their homes.
We must not let these hard truths despair us. Instead, we must be galvanized by them. While it sometimes feels we are witnessing a slow, unyielding death and abuse of Black and Brown people in this country, there is some reason for hope. While President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have complicated histories with Black and Brown communities, their administration has promised bold action on racial justice and significant investments in housing equity. It is our job as housing justice advocates to hold them to their commitments, to raise our voices for those most in need and take to the streets (safely, socially distanced, with masks), to the media, and to our elected representatives in our struggle for housing and racial justice.
White supremacy and systemic racism are deeply embedded in the U.S., but NLIHC is committed to rooting it out. Join us.