The Pandemic’s Impact on Racial Inequity and Violence Can’t Be Ignored

By Fatimah Loren Muhammad, The Trace | May 7, 2020

Former Stoneleigh Fellow Ted Corbin’s Healing Hurt People program is featured by The Trace as a hospital-based violence intervention and street outreach program that has pivoted to delivering many of its services virtually.

The spread of COVID-19 has incited a vast level of fear and anxiety throughout our nation, inspiring a sense of powerlessness, economic insecurity, and corrosion of social support. As most of the country grapples with shelter-in-place orders, these conditions only exacerbate community instability, structural inequity, and the safety of vulnerable populations.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the persistence of violent crime. While overall crime has declined in many cities, the U.S. saw more than 2,100 firearm deaths between March and late April — the highest tally in that period since 2016. Nonfatal shootings also remain steady or have seen similar increases in places like Philadelphia, Chicago and Detroit. In these cities, areas where COVID-19 is spreading rapidly, black Americans were already 10 times more likely to die from gun homicide than white Americans before the pandemic.

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