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The National Urban League has released their 2021 State Of Black America report that proposes plans to address the “three pandemics” drastically affecting the Black Community in the wake of COVID-19: Racial Inequity in Health Care, Economics and Public Safety.   

The Urban League has proposed a new way of banking that could help aid in the economic setback that the Black community has experienced due to the ripple effect of COVID-19. Studies found that “close to 17 percent” of Black households lacked basic financial services during the pandemic “compared to 3 percent of white households.” Families were forced to rely on check-cashing centers or payday loans that are often associated with high fees compared to traditional banks. The league has proposed their Mobility Capital Finance plan that will provide free low-cost financial services to low-income families. The plan would give families access to debit cards, mobile check depositing and direct bill pay free of cost. 

The pandemic has disproportionately affected communities of color where rates of diseases like hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol are more prevalent. Through the league’s “Rich Life” study, the organization is working alongside John Hopkins Center for Health Equity to help personalize and understand the health disparities plaguing the Black community.  Through the project, the research team will meet monthly with nurses and community healthcare workers to find the best solutions to handle patient needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

The climate of civil unrest skyrocketed over the last year creating a larger challenge for communities of color. How can law enforcement keep community members safe and in a way that’s effective?  

Last year, the Urban league launched the TRU program that enables citizens to call sworn officers over social media platforms such as Microsoft Teams.  A citizen can call a 911 dispatcher and if requested, the individual would be transferred to a TRU officer that they would be able to communicate with face to face using video chat software. The league says the ability to “see” the officers have proven to be a success in some communities. The tool offers a safer alternative for some citizens and protects both officers and citizens from potential COVID-19 exposure.  

The report also outlines two major policy proposals developed by the National Urban League including the 21 Pillars for Redefining Public Safety and Restoring Community Trust that details ways on creating a comprehensive framework for criminal justice advocacy as well as The Lewis Latimer Plan for Digital Equity and Inclusion, a tool that could help create a more equitable and inclusive society amongst Black America. 

In an effort to elevate and expand on the report, The National Urban League will hold a dynamic virtual conference today at 2 pm EST on the State Of Black America’s website.

The series will feature some of the nation’s most important thought leaders and influencers like Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, Senior Vice President of Social Justice Initiatives, Dr. Tracie L. Keesee, and Ed Gordon, Emmy-winning broadcaster and author of Conversation In Black: On Power, Politics and Leadership among others.  

You can tune into the conversation at StateOfBlackAmerica.org 

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