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Coronavirus' Impact on Minority Communities

Floor Speech

Date: Nov. 16, 2020
Location: Washington, DC

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Ms. SCANLON. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman for arranging this Special Order hour.

I stand before you today frustrated by the lack of Federal relief as COVID-19 surges across the country. With each day that we don't have relief for families, businesses, our frontline workers, and the State and local governments that have borne the brunt of the pandemic response, its impact grows that much more disastrous--and disproportionately so for our communities of color.

More than a quarter of my constituents are Black, and we now know that Black individuals are almost three times as likely to become infected with COVID-19 as White individuals and twice as likely to die of the virus. So over the past 9 months my district has seen families and neighborhoods devastated by this virus.

My district is also home to our Nation's poorest and hungriest major city. When you live paycheck to paycheck, one missed shift or even missing an hour's worth of work forces families to make impossible decisions between putting food on the table or keeping a roof overhead, and it makes quarantining impossible.

For the most part these are not new challenges caused by COVID-19, these are challenges that have been plaguing our most marginalized communities and communities of color for decades. But the pandemic has exacerbated and laid bare these inequities for all who care enough to see. It is why we must provide relief to help our communities survive the pandemic and commit to closing the gaps preexisting the pandemic that have been holding families back for far too long.

Our families are in crisis. They need stimulus checks to pay their rent and mortgages. They need access to free testing to protect themselves and their families. They also need food and childcare and access to equitable education, housing, healthcare, and wages.

This pandemic has shown us there is a roadmap to improving the lives of millions of Americans, especially our communities of color, but we must have the courage to follow it.

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