To the Journal editor:
Forty percent of COVID-19 deaths in the state of Michigan are Blacks. However, Blacks only make up about 13% of the population of the state of Michigan. These statistics are staggering. The disproportionate amount of Black deaths highlight the racial disparities that exist in our state.
The passage of Senate Bill 944 would provide a task force to fight these racial disparities through identifying, recommending, and establishing ways to combat racial disparities in health care specifically with the Department of Health and Human Services.
It will also remove bias in treatment and testing and help to figure out other factors that contribute to COVID exposure for Blacks in Michigan. S.B. 944 will also help to inform the public and policy makers on the presence of these racial disparities.
With the current climate of racism in the United States, it is clear that Blacks have faced racists acts not only by police but also in the systems that they seek refuge, such as health care and within DHHS.
In the United States, 7.5 % of Blacks live in unsafe housing and 22% live in poverty. These are factors that are contributing to exposure of COVID, and exactly what the task force is being put together to address.
I strongly urge you to support S.B. 944 by contacting your local state representatives. Highlight that this issue isn’t just about the COVID pandemic and Black COVID deaths. It is about the existence of systemic racism in our state and in our country.
You can be a part of the solution to save people’s lives and fight racism.