Following is an opinion article written by my nephew, Dr. Tito Izard:
Opinion: COVID-19 reveals that descendants of slavery still have three-fifths status
What if your American dream was already in a health and economic crisis? How would you survive a global disaster?
Updated 11:28 a.m. CDT Sep. 10, 2020
Editor's note: Six months ago, Gov. Tony Evers ordered nonessential businesses and schools to close and people to stay home — the official start of a statewide battle with the coronavirus. We asked a diverse group of people from Wisconsin to reflect on the lessons of the past six months and to look ahead.
America awaited a coordinated response that never came as a novel virus ravaged its way across the globe. The most vulnerable facing the pandemic, African Americans, whose lineage has the worst health status, hoped this crisis would be different.
But public health and economic recovery require timely and effective engagement between community advocates, health officials, health systems, clinics, municipalities and state government. If only stakeholders would work together to coordinate the distribution of federal resources and reserves. That hope remains. The pandemic has disrupted America’s stability. Hopefully, it is a temporary disruption of the economy and liberty. But what if your American dream was already in a health and economic crisis? How would you survive a global disaster?
For American Descendants of Slavery, outcomes don't exceed 3/5ths or 60% of America’s white median outcomes. There is no parity in household income, wealth, homeownership, educational attainment, employment or health. And now we can add COVID-19 mortality to this list of disparities. Every health indicator is a direct consequence of being an American Descendent of Slavery.
The solution lies in the promise of this country — justice for all. The enslaved body was an asset. It could be used as currency, collateral or credit. After emancipation, the freed slave became an American liability. No other ethnic group began its independence as an American debt. The societal, economic and health disparities exacerbated by COVID-19
remind America to satisfy this debt. A comprehensive reparations plan for descendants of slavery would advance liberty and justice in criminal justice, restorative health equity, housing integration, economic inclusion, educational attainment and employment, and industry
Without it, this is what 3/5th American citizenship life looks like for the descendants of the enslaved.
Dr. Tito Izard is president and CEO of Milwaukee Health Services Inc.