By AFRO Staff

The nation’s leading civil rights organizations have requested an urgent meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer regarding racial equity in the coronavirus response proposal.

The leaders include Marc H. Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League; Melanie Campbell, president and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and convener of the Black Women’s Roundtable; NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson and Rev. Al Sharpton, founder and president of the National Action Network.

Rev. Al Sharpton, founder and president of the National Action Network. (Courtesy Photo)

Sharpton noted that urban neighborhoods and communities of color often lack access to quality health care facilities. “What efforts will be made to make testing freely available in urban and poor communities?” Sharpton asked. “We need to make sure that the relief offered in any coronavirus response plan does not bypass the communities most in need.”

The group insisted that coronavirus response legislation must take racial equity into account. They went on to say that the discussions will include the possibility of making the provisions of the response plan permanent.

“As we often say, when White America catches a cold, Black America gets pneumonia, and never has that metaphor been more apt,” Morial said. “Urban communities of color are likely to suffer the brunt of the health and economic impacts of the coronavirus crisis and any legislative response must contain targeted relief.”