City addressing disparities with COVID-19 and race
While the pandemic has meant change for everyone, some groups have been more affected than others. In Bloomington, Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. Learn more, below, about how the total number of COVID-19 cases in these communities compares to the percentage of the city’s population they make up.
About half of all documented cases in Bloomington are within BIPOC communities, with almost 20% African American and 30% Hispanic. As a whole, BIPOC communities are about 28% of Bloomington’s population, and that rate of diversity is increasing every year.
“As our city continues to grow, we have many members of our community who do not have access to their full health potential, their full well-being,” Assistant Public Health Administrator Nick Kelley said.
The City is committed to acting to advance racial equity. The City is working on addressing the root causes of inequities impacting the health and well-being of our community, that are the result of structural racism, which have been highlighted by COVID-19. Work is underway to broaden the understanding of institutional and structural racism within Bloomington’s workforce and community.
“We’ll be thoughtful and intentional about building a plan that leads us to a place where we are that city where people of all races are able to thrive,” Racial Equity Coordinator Faith Jackson said.
To address how this pandemic may add to existing racial inequities, Jackson provided City leaders and staff with a racial equity framework.
The City is reaching out to BIPOC communities in a number of ways:
- Providing culturally sensitive COVID-19 messages and resources to BIPOC communities. These communications help connect BIPOC communities to employment, business, rental and income assistance programs.
- Connecting with BIPOC communities through local faith groups, housing properties, senior and congregate living facilities, nonprofits, schools, colleges and businesses.
- Volunteering at a local food bank that helps low-income individuals and families regardless of citizenship status.
“This is an opportunity for us to act on those things that we’ve already been doing over the last several years. We can prioritize racial equity and act with more urgency in order to address some of those root causes,” Jackson said.