More than 1 in 5 black and Hispanic female workers in Illinois lost their jobs during the first month of the COVID-19 lockdown.
George Floyd’s murder was a trigger, but to only focus on his death or the past dozen deaths of black Americans at the hands of law enforcement would be tragically shallow.
The demand from the streets is about very old grievances. America is refusing to accept continued indifference, and Illinois especially must look at how its institutions and public policy decisions have perpetuated injustices.
Illinois just saw the COVID-19 pandemic expose decades of disinvestment in the health of minority communities. Gov. J.B. Pritzker imposed the nation’s strictest lockdown, but rather than save lives it quickly exposed minorities, and especially women, to harsh economic fates expected to take a decade to repair.
Just how much minority communities lost is starting to be quantified by federal data. Minority workers were disproportionately hurt, with women losing the greatest share of jobs across all ethnicities, just during the first month after Pritzker declared whose jobs were essential.