For Immediate Release | April 10, 2020
DETROIT – This week, Governor Gretchen Whitmer launched the Coronavirus Task Force on Racial Disparities to tackle health inequities that have led to the disproportionately high impact of coronavirus in Black and Brown communities. In Michigan, Black people make up 40% of reported coronavirus deaths yet constitute less than 14% of the state’s total population.
Robert Rooks, CEO of the Alliance for Safety and Justice (ASJ) issued the following statement.
“We’re encouraged that Gov. Whitmer has launched this task force to tackle the inequities that are leaving Black communities of Michigan disproportionately harmed by COVID-19. The health and well being of Black communities have long been harmed by underinvestment in essential programs and resources that people rely on for their health and safety. The groups and services in communities that help people meet their core needs must receive state and federal support to reduce the harm of this pandemic and ensure healthy communities.
We need to invest in programs like mental health care, drug treatment, trauma recovery, reentry, and other services. For too long, Black communities — and others — have not seen
health responses to health-related challenges, but instead prisons and jails have been the primary response. Our priorities and responses need to change so everyone can be safe and
The Governor launched this task force less than a week after announcing an executive order on correctional facilities. ASJ released a statement on the executive order, recommending further action.
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