In the wake of racial unrest across the country, the city of Cincinnati is taking a step in the direction of progress.
The city has created a Racial Equity Task Force, with its first priority being to address the intersection between race and the pandemic.
“As the message has been with COVID-19, which is really the why of the urgency: your health and your life span should not be predicated upon based on your race,” said Renee Mahaffey Harris, co-chair of task force.
More than a dozen leaders in various sectors across the city came together to talk, bring perspective and work towards solutions.
Folks from the Greater Cincinnati Urban League, NAACP, local churches and more looked at data from the city as to who most is being impacted by this pandemic.
According to city data, COVID-19-related deaths throughout the city are 51 percent black and 37 percent white.
Black folks in the city are disproportionately impacted by the pandemic not due to genetics but access to healthcare and protective services.
This was the first of many meetings and the city hopes this will create a direct path toward policy changes.
“You all are already doing phenomenal work in your organizations but at city hall we do have the power to pull policy levers in a way that could be incredibly powerful,” said PG Sittenfeld, Cincinnati city councilmember.
This could include things like tax policy and where the $1.5 billion city budget ends up flowing.
While this specific session focused on racial inequity in terms of the COVID-19 pandemic, going forward the committee is going to focus on race issues throughout the city as well.