June 17, 2020

Duckworth, Durbin, Kelly Join Protect Our Care to Raise Alarm over Glaring Racial Disparities in Trump Administration’s Handling of COVID-19 Crisis


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Representative Robin Kelly (D-IL-02) today joined founder and chair of Protect Our Care Leslie Dach on a press call to discuss the disproportionate effect that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on Black Illinoisans and how the Trump Administration’s failure to adequately respond to the crisis has contributed to this disparity.

“The awful truth is that in Illinois, COVID-19 isn’t yesterday’s nightmare—it’s still today’s reality. And that’s especially true in communities of color where this pandemic has hit the hardest as too many folks in power choose to avert their eyes,” said Duckworth. “The way this public health emergency is impacting minorities—especially Black Americans—and the statistics of these outcomes that we’ve seen from the West and South Sides of Chicago are shocking, but they’re not surprising. They’re the horrifyingly predictable consequences of the inequities in our healthcare, economic and environmental protection systems that have plagued communities of color for far too long. As we move toward passing a fourth phase of relief, I will do everything I can to make sure vulnerable communities get the resources, help and justice they deserve.”

“The racial health disparities we face today are the result of decades-long divestment and dis-enfranchisement in communities of color. The coronavirus pandemic has disproportionately affected Black and Latinx communities, reminding us once again of the unacceptable and devastating inequalities in our country’s health care system. It is important, now more than ever, that we ensure that all communities—especially families of color—continue to have access to critical health care coverage,” said Durbin.

“Since Illinois and other states first started reporting COVID-19 racial data, I was shocked but not surprised to see that African Americans and other people of color were dying at higher than normal rates. To those of us who work on health disparity and access issues, we knew that any pandemic would have a disproportionate impact on more vulnerable communities, and communities that are home to frontline, essential workers. The intersection is the African American community,” said Congresswoman Robin Kelly. “But this is America and we are all Americans – there shouldn’t be a two-tiered system. It's well past time to start addressing the social determinants of health that have been allowed to create disparities in America for too long.”