Mayor Lori Lightfoot Diverts $10M in COVID Funding to Fight 'Racism' Instead
Chicago Mayor claims racism has a 'deadly' impact on health
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has decided systemic racism is a “public health crisis,” using it as an excuse to divert $10 million in grants from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which was meant to address the coronavirus.
Lightfoot said during a press conference on Thursday:
“At almost every point in our city’s history, sadly, racism has taken a devastating toll on the health and well-being of our residents of color, and particularly those who are black."
“Without formally acknowledging this history and reality, and the continuing impact of that infamous legacy, looking at the root causes of today’s challenges, we will never be able to move forward as a city and fully provide our communities with the resources that we need to live happy, vibrant, and fulfilled lives.”
Lightfoot also said that it was not overt racism posing a significant health crisis, but the effects of “systemic racism," which she claimed had a “deadly” impact on health.
“When we think about racism, many of us think about it in visible and audible forms, but the reality is the insidious nature of systemic racism has other impacts that are every bit as deep and harmful, but often ones that we can’t see, like the impacts on the psyche and other impacts on our bodies that are just as, if not more deadly,” Lightfoot said.
Lightfoot also argued that efforts to tackle the coronavirus pandemic "laid bare” the difference in hour communities of color weather a health crisis.
Such revelations were documented in a “Chicago Department of Public Health released a study earlier this week, showing Black Chicagoans have a shorter life expectancy rate. On average, Blacks in the city lived 71.4 years while non-Blacks lived 80.6 years. That gap is 9.2 years, but depending on the neighborhood, it gets even wider,” per WGN News.
“COVID laid bare a lot of disparities. When we started looking at the disproportionate impact of COVID on communities of color, in particular, there’s a straight line to the lack of access to safe, affordable, high-quality healthcare,” she said.
Lightfoot said the city would put money from the CDC to help with the racism crisis.
“The health department is allocating $9.6 million in Covid relief funding from the CDC, to establish ‘healthy Chicago equity zones,'” WGN noted.
“The six geographical areas cover the entire city and will focus on creating ways to improve wellness.”
“Community groups in each of those six areas of the city will lead efforts to come up with targeted strategies to improve community wellness. City officials have chosen six organizations to lead those efforts in each of the six Healthy Chicago Equity Zones,” CBS Chicago reported.
Earlier this year, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg made similar claims that the United States infrastructure had racism "physically built” into it.
During an interview addressing Joe Biden’s $2.25 trillion infrastructure proposal, Buttigieg argued that highways and bridges had been designed to divide race.
“Well, if you’re in Washington, I’m told that the history of that highway is one that was built at the expense of communities of color in the D.C. area,” he said.
“There are stories, and I think Philadelphia and Pittsburgh [and] in New York, Robert Moses famously saw through the construction of a lot of highways.”
“There is racism physically built into some of our highways, and that’s why the jobs plan has specifically committed to reconnecting some of the communities that were divided by these dollars,” he added.