Op-Ed: What Are We Going to Do About Structural Inequities Highlighted by Pandemic?

Posted by NJ Spotlight on April 21, 2020

‘Will we act on what we know now to buffer the disparate impact of the next equivalent assault on our communities?’

Higher education — like every sector of our economy — is hurting badly because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But the current crisis has served to throw into sharp relief structural inequities that we have allowed to exist for too long in our state and our nation despite the best of our knowledge. Racial inequity, in particular, has been hurting us badly for generations, and at universities like ours we see students as they walk the uneven path toward social mobility.

Months into the COVID-19 pandemic, we have only just begun to examine it through a racial-equity lens. The disparate impacts on health, jobs, housing, food, and education are glaring. They lay bare the architecture of segregation that frames black and brown communities: urban centers especially, but more generally geographically isolated; indigenous communities and neighborhoods with high numbers of undocumented families and frontline workers. The deadly weight of inequality surely is felt, too, in predominantly white rural communities that already faced the closing of plants and loss of jobs and the health vulnerabilities they bring. But recent research shows that wealth disparities have been growing most alarmingly for decades in our cities.

Read more here: https://www.njspotlight.com/2020/04/op-ed-what-are-we-going-to-do-about-structural-inequities-highlighted-by-pandemic/

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