Radio Facts:

Radio Facts: Today Native Son, a platform and safe space that empowers and celebrates the Black gay male community, Color Of Change, the nation’s largest online racial justice organization, and The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization, announce #WEDEMAND— a calling for Secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar to release demographic data on the impact of COVID-19 on marginalized communities in order to mount an effective national response so that we do not risk deepening the inequities illuminated by the current crisis.

Native Son’s Founder, Emil Wilbekin, Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David and Color Of Change President, Rashad Robinson note that data is critical to mobilizing directly impacted communities to advocate and hold federal, state and local leaders accountable for equitable rapid distribution of essential healthcare and social safety net resources. Complete data is also necessary to inform the development of effective, culturally competent public messaging on social distancing and other personal and community safety measures. Inequity and discrimination thrive under the cloak of invisibility and illuminating the impacts of this pandemic on those most at risk must play a critical role in our national effort. 

“It is imperative that we have access to racialized data so that we understand the impact of COVID-19 on Black, Brown and LGBTQI+ communities,” said Native Son Founder Emil Wilbekin“Native Son’s mission is to harness the collective power of Black gay men. During this global pandemic, it is urgent and essential that we lock arms and aims with HRC and Color of Change to ensure that marginalized people are counted and receive equitable treatment.”

We cannot ignore the fact that marginalized communities, particularly Black and Brown people, are being disproportionately impacted by this virus,” said HRC President Alphonso David“HRC has long called for inclusive data collection to ensure that all people are counted, and today we are proud to join with Native Son and Color of Change to demand robust demographic data collection. Data is necessary to ensure that our leaders are held accountable in directing necessary resources to the communities that need it most.”

“As we see desperate death rates from COVID-19 in Black communities, collecting complete and accurate nationwide demographic information is becoming a life or death issue. Analyzing the distribution of relief resources will help us flatten the curve as a country until we do so, no community in our country will be safe from this illness,” said Rashad Robinson, President of Color Of Change, the largest online racial justice organization in the country.

A legacy of racism and implicit bias in our healthcare system has put Black people at greater risk of advanced disease progression. This increased risk factor is compounded by a host of other structural disadvantages that make social distancing and other recommended practices significantly more difficult for Black Americans. These include disparities in rates of unemployment and underemployment, incarceration, and access to safe housing and healthcare resources.

In addition, the immediate call-to-action to quell the rapid spread of COVID-19 in marginalized communities, Native Son, Human Rights Campaign and Color of Change specifically call for the following:

●     Consistent and readily accessible publication of anonymized COVID-related racial and demographic data including testing rates, test results, hospitalizations, treatment, and mortality in compliance with existing health care privacy laws. 
●     Development of a comprehensive, standardized data collection and publication protocol across all actors in the virus response including local and state public health departments and private companies providing testing and laboratory services.
●     Required comprehensive data collection and reporting for all health care system recipients of federal COVID relief funding across an expanded set of demographics including race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic status, and engagement with the criminal legal system among others.
●     Strong collaboration between the federal government and private testing and laboratory companies to ensure the collection and reporting of comprehensive demographic data in compliance with existing health care privacy laws. 
●     The devastating effects of this virus on Black communities in the United States demands a transformational effort by our leaders to rebuild a truly equitable and resilient healthcare system — a system that is not only prepared to handle the consequences of a new and unknown pathogen, but one also equipped to deal with the crippling effects of racism that have placed the Black community squarely in the crosshairs of this current crisis. 
HRC recently published a research brief outlining the particular health and economic risks faced by the LGBTQ community during the COVID-19 public health crisis. Read the full brief here and find specific information on the economic impact of COVID-19 on the LGBTQ community here.


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