The Bishops of the African Methodist Episcopal Church are deeply concerned about how the Federal Government has mishandled the Coronavirus “global pandemic.” What was once characterized as a “hoax” has become a full-blown health crisis. The lack of leadership, misinformation and mismanagement coming out of Washington, DC, makes a bad situation worse.
We see daily news reports about the devastating and destructive global and national effects of this pandemic. When the political, economic, and social realities of helping our nation heal and recover are mixed with racism and White Supremacy, the Council of Bishops becomes even more concerned. As one health care leader affirmed: “COVID is just unmasking the deep disinvestment in our communities, the historical injustices and the impact of residential segregation.”
When we discover that the number of African American deaths is disproportionate to our numbers in many states, like Michigan and Wisconsin, we are concerned that the ongoing attacks and cutbacks to what some call “Obamacare” have made this situation worse. We are also wondering whether people of color were considered when the testing guidelines were written? Indeed, it is becoming more apparent every day that racism and economic inequality may be impacting how our nation is managing this healthcare crisis.
Therefore, the Bishops’ Council of the African Methodist Episcopal Church calls for:
- The federal government to collect and release the breakdown of CORONAVIRUS cases and deaths by race and ethnicity.
- At-risk and underserved communities to receive expedited services in all new bills that seek to help the American people and communities recover from the adverse healthcare and economic consequences of this pandemic.
- The federal government to make sure that race does not exclude all qualified people of color, the businesses and non-profits they represent. These groups have been underserved by those responsible for the Payroll Protection Program issued through the CARES Act.
Finally, we write this on April 4, 2020, the 52nd Anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King by the system of White Supremacy and economic inequality. It seems that while there are many trying to keep the dream alive, the dream-killers hold many of the key positions of power. We will continue to pray, organize and work with others who believe in the dream of freedom and justice for all. Will you?
Keep The Dream Alive (2 Chronicles 7:14)
The Right Reverend Harry L. Seawright (9th Episcopal District)
President, Council of Bishops of the AME Church