Joint Center President Discusses Systemic Inequality and the COVID-19 Pandemic’s Affect on Black Communities at the Black IDEA Summit

Joint Center President Spencer Overton joined Kingdom Fellowship AME Church’s Black IDEA Summit to discuss how systemic inequality that has plagued Black communities throughout history, and have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

For example, Spencer spoke about how during the pandemic, many Black workers lost their job and face economic insecurity or were deemed as an essential worker and faced insecurity due to increased exposure to the virus. He also noted that Black unemployment spiked to 16.7 percent in April (11 percentage points higher than pre-pandemic rates), and is currently 5 percentage points higher than the average unemployment rate in the U.S.

Spencer also spoke about how the pandemic has negatively affected Black businesses with 41 percent of Black businesses closed from February to April 2020. As the U.S. moves forward, Spencer notes that skills and credentials are important but other systemic disparities that shape the economic opportunities for African Americans must be addressed.

In closing, Spencer said he is inspired by the Black IDEA Coalition, which will support and convene partners (including the Joint Center) to center Black communities and “fulfill the promise of diversity and inclusion by empowering organizations and institutions to achieve Black parity in employment, investments, and contracting.” Learn more here.

Watch Spencer’s remarks below (beginning at the 46:18 mark)