Regional leaders Wednesday announced the creation of a panel tasked with developing policies and programs to help members of underserved communities in the San Diego region that have been hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Regional COVID-19 Taskforce for Equitable Recovery will forward policies “that ensure a fair and just recovery” for people of color and underserved communities throughout the region.
Task force members said unemployment, food insecurity and equal access to COVID-19-related funding and health care are among the issues to be tackled, beginning with their first strategy session on June 24.
“COVID-19 didn’t cause the economic inequities or health disparities that exist in our society, but it highlighted how a crisis situation can make things more difficult for people struggling because of those injustices,” said Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, co-chair of the county’s COVID-19 Subcommittee.
“Local community and advocacy organizations have stepped up to lead the charge in finding long-term solutions; I am honored to join them in developing policies and programs that will help San Diegans’ recovery and create a more sustainable future,” he said.
The idea behind the task force was presented to Fletcher by the Invest in San Diego Families Coalition. Its campaign manager, Paola Martinez- Montes, said ISDF called on the county to create such a task force to avoid “deepening the injustice our communities have been carrying for hundreds of years.”
Dr. Rodney Hood, president of the Multicultural Health Foundation, said “African American, Latino, Asian and other vulnerable communities have seen a disproportionate coronavirus virus infection rate due to long standing structural racial inequities. We will need proactive strategies and policies to minimize the disproportionate impact on these communities by disrupting systemic inequities with equitable policies and solutions that result in better health outcomes for all San Diego residents. The creation of the new task force is a first step to making this a reality.”
The announcement came on the same day that the San Diego Association of Governments released a report showing that Black and Hispanic residents are far more likely to live in areas with higher-than-average unemployment rates and a larger number of COVID-19 cases throughout the San Diego region.
SANDAG Chair and Poway Mayor Steve Vaus said, “As regional elected officials and leaders, it is important for us to think strategically about how to coordinate with the Black and Hispanic communities — and all communities in need — to determine which programs and policies can put in place to guide an equitable recovery as businesses begin to reopen and as people return to work or look for new jobs.”
— City News Service
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