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By Marlysa D. Gamblin
Many folks who have heard me speak about racism in the United States are likely familiar with my analogy of our country being a big family with an unresolved issue. The longer an issue remains unresolved, the more intentional the efforts to resolve it must be. Such problems are likely to worsen in times of crisis.
The Great Depression in the 1930s was marked by deep racial divides in hunger and food insecurity. Structural racism had not been resolved in any way. African American households were at least twice as likely to be hungry as white households. Hunger affected African Americans even more disproportionately after passage of the Social Security Act in 1935, because 65 percent of African Americans were excluded from the legislation’s social protections.
In 2007, just before the Great Recession hit, African Americans were three times as likely as white households to face food insecurity. During the Great Recession, African Americans had the highest hunger rates of any racial or ethnic community.
With structural racism still not addressed in a meaningful way, it is not surprising that the COVID-19 pandemic is another crisis that affects African Americans disproportionately. Black people are more likely to contract the virus and more likely to die if they get sick, and the racial wealth, income, and hunger divides are likely widening now as well.
Bread for the World Institute is pleased to announce a new resource, the executive summary of our upcoming report, Racially Equitable Responses to Hunger During COVID-19 and Beyond.
The executive summary focuses on racial equity in immediate responses to the pandemic in the areas of food security, housing security, and income security. The top recommendation is to apply a racial equity lens to all COVID-19-related responses going forward. Racial equity tools such as Bread for the World Institute’s Racial Equity Policy Scorecard can help assess how well an initiative or program is working to dismantle racism.
Following are a selection of other recommendations in the executive summary:
The executive summary offers more statistics, analysis, and recommendations for action now.
The full report, coming soon, also examines how to break the cycle of hunger, even during the pandemic, using racial equity approaches. Longer-term recommendations relate to the racial wealth gap, areas of racialized concentrated poverty, and racial bias in the healthcare system.
Marlysa D. Gamblin is senior policy advisor, racial and gender divides, with Bread for the World Institute.
With structural racism still not addressed in a meaningful way, it is not surprising that the COVID-19 pandemic is another crisis that affects African Americans disproportionately.
Afghanistan would be considered likely to have high rates of hunger because at least two of the major causes of global hunger affect it—armed conflict and fragile governmental institutions.
Malnutrition is responsible for nearly half of all preventable deaths among children under 5. Every year, the world loses hundreds of thousands of young children and babies to hunger-related causes.
Bread for the World is calling on the Biden-Harris administration and Congress to build a better 1,000-Days infrastructure in the United States.
“As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in faith.” These words from Colossians 2:6 remind us of the faith that is active in love for our neighbors.
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The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is designed to respond to changes in need, making it well suited to respond to crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bread for the World and its partners are asking Congress to provide $200 million for global nutrition.
In 2017, 11.8 percent of households in the U.S.—40 million people—were food-insecure, meaning that they were unsure at some point during the year about how they would provide for their next meal.