The coronavirus disease epidemic that upended every aspect of American life has exposed the naked face of institutional and interpersonal racism


By: Marc Morial, President National Urban League

The coronavirus disease epidemic that upended every aspect of American life has exposed the naked face of institutional and interpersonal racism.

While there are endless lessons to be learned from this era of COVID-19, The State of Black New York®, affirms the mood for serious introspection, exposing the human toll and economic devastation of the pandemic on Black New Yorkers, while laying bare the deep-rooted inequities that predated the pandemic and accelerated the virus’s deadly spread.

The highly anticipated, State of Black New York® benchmarks vital data and sources for thought leadership around racial equality in New York across economics, employment, education, health, housing, criminal justice and civic participation. The report contains penetrating commentary and provides insightful analysis from recognized authorities and leading figures in politics, the nonprofit arena, academia and popular culture.

Race-based data was pulled, and a bleak picture emerged: Black, Latino and Indigenous people are getting sick and dying in higher numbers. And, African Americans are reportedly three times as likely to contract the coronavirus and nearly twice as likely to die from COVID-19.

Against this grim backdrop of an exploding public health crisis, we watched as a Black man was denied his God-given right to breathe, and New Yorkers spilled out into the streets insisting that Black Lives Matter. 

Metaphorically, the report reveals the common denominator in the alarming and disproportionate ratio of Black people left gasping for air in emergency rooms and at the hands (and knees) of law enforcement: centuries of systemic racism.

Finally, and most importantly, the report delves into the historical inequities, systematic racism, and unconscious bias that restricts opportunities for Black Americans and underserved communities. 

As part of the healing process, we must fearlessly acknowledge and address the power and urgency of the moment – from the dual pandemics of racism and COVID-19, which have unmasked longstanding disparities that are destroying Black wealth and Black lives. 

Join leading voices in civil rights, social justice, and leadership as we discuss ways to combat the triple pandemic of coronavirus, economic distress and racial injustice in New York.

The National Urban League and its affiliate - New York Urban League - stand united with all people committed to the monumental task of reckoning with our nation’s racist past—and present.

We stand with New York, resolute and ready to leverage our influence and resources to break the pattern of papering over injustice with hollow reforms and symbolic gestures. We believe that without real justice, there can be no peace.

The fight for civil rights needs you. 

Be a part of the movement to ensure civil rights for the underserved in New York and the nation. 

Marc Morial


Urban League