Black Caucus and Governor Newsom Hold Talks on Impact of COVID on Communities of Color

April 21, 2020

Black Caucus and Governor Newsom Hold Talks on Impact of COVID on Communities of Color

Sacramento – Members of the California Legislative Black Caucus (CLBC) held a conference call today with Governor Gavin Newsom to discuss a range of issues related to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Black Community.

“It was a productive conversation,” said CLBC Chair, Assemblymember Shirley N. Weber, Ph.D. "Our primary concern is that African Americans in California contract and die of the virus at higher rates. The Governor listened and committed to work with us to collect data on the disparate impact of the COVID virus on our community."

Weber said CLBC members expressed their concern that statewide school closures through the fall will widen the achievement gap for students of color.

"We cannot have these students out of school for six months and think everything is going to be okay," she said. "The Caucus made it clear to the Administration that we need to work together on a statewide plan for recovering the instruction they've lost. They - and we - will pay a high price if we do not approach this problem with commitment and innovation."

Another important topic discussed was the immediate financial assistance for the recovery of black-owned businesses devastated by the shutdown. This includes establishing accountability measures to ensure that black small business owners are equitably allocated funding from the various revenue streams; and examining the standards that have systematically and historically excluded them.

Some other issues on the CLBC agenda included the inclusions of resources to undocumented African immigrants, and allowing Black churches to use their social service infrastructure to provide state-funded COVID-related assistance to their communities.

"We are in a crisis and it is hitting our community particularly hard," Weber said. "The CLBC will continue to engage the Administration on issues that affect our community - healthcare, jobs, K-12 recovery, small businesses, etc. We need the Black community to listen to health experts, stay home, practice social distancing.  and stay engaged to make sure our voices are heard.”