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Roundup: We’ve Been Socially Distanced for Years. It’s Called Racism.

Our latest on the COVID-19 crisis — from a wake-up call about our years of cultural apartheid to what the pandemic means for the racial wealth gap, and more.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, we're taking a closer look at what this crisis means for Black and brown communities, for our democracy, and for a just economy.

Democratic Reform 

1. We’ve been socially distanced for years. It’s called racism.

Our own cultural and political apartheid is as American as apple pie, from redlining to gated communities, white flight to gentrification, poll taxes to voter purges, segregation in schools to insurmountable college debt, and more.

Read the wake-up call in Blavity

2. The right’s latest attacks on vote-by-mail follow a decades-long tactic of weaponizing “voter fraud” claims to suppress the vote.

The specter of voter fraud is a talking point deployed to silence the voices of Black and brown voters across the country.

Read about 6 areas of the voting process in which the right has deployed the myth of voter fraud

3. Ohio’s primary is a mess.

The Ohio legislature is making voters jump through hoops to vote—threatening the right to vote for hundreds of thousands of Ohioans. Read how the state is restricting the vote during COVID-19 and what we’re doing about it

Ohio voters: We want to hear about your experience. Please contact us at [email protected] if you experience or witness problems seeking or casting a ballot in Ohio.

Economic Justice 

4. Stay-at-home orders come with a big qualifying asterisk for essential workers across the country. STAY HOME—unless you are an essential worker.

For Black and brown frontline workers, just trying to earn a living can mean risking infection. Employers’ disregard for workers’ safety is one factor leading to a horrific outcome: Black people are contracting the disease at especially high rates and dying from it.

Read how we should be protecting Black and brown workers on the front lines

5. We cannot let the coronavirus crisis drive Black and brown families further into debt.

Across the country, the pain of job loss and income disruption is layered on top of the nation’s existing racial inequalities. The economic crisis caused by the coronavirus will make racial wealth gaps worse unless policymakers change course.

Read what can be done

6. COVID-19 has exposed a crisis that is racial capitalism.

In case you missed our last email, read Demos President K. Sabeel Rahman on how this pandemic has revealed the deep inequities for Black and brown people that have always existed but that were papered over before.

Read about the 3 areas we’re focusing on to fix this racial crisis

A note about our annual gala

It should come as no surprise that due to the magnitude of the COVID-19 crisis, we have canceled our Transforming America Awards & Gala in celebration of Demos’ 20th year.

Despite our disappointment, this was an easy decision. The health and safety of our staff, friends, partners, vendors, and communities is of critical importance, and with the uncertainty of the full impact and duration of the health crisis, we had no choice.

With the challenges that we’re all now facing, Demos is even more committed to transforming America and look forward to a time when we can connect with our friends and allies in person to help make that change happen. Until then, we thank you for your continued support of Demos.

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