Like a lot of people with loved ones in long-term care facilities, Priscilla Flint-Banks spent much of the spring worried about her 87-year-old mother, Ruby Kinney. Kinney, who had dementia, lived in the Edgar P. Benjamin Healthcare Center, a predominantly Black nursing home in Roxbury.
In early April, Flint-Banks called to check on her mom and spoke to a nurse. She says she asked whether the home had any COVID-positive residents.
Ruby Kinney died from COVID-19 on April 22. Flint-Banks says a doctor at the nursing home, which declined to comment for this story, called to tell her the news. “I didn't have any clue that they even thought she had COVID,” Flint-Banks says. “I just started crying, me and my husband both.”
In Massachusetts, nursing homes were hit hard and early by the coronavirus. Thousands of residents in these facilities have died from COVID-19, and the death rate from the virus in nursing homes is 90 times that of the statewide death rate. But nursing homes across the state did not bear this burden equally.
Twenty people died from COVID-19 in Kinney’s nursing home. This is higher than the statewide average in facilities with coronavirus outbreaks: 15.5 deaths. State data also shows that nursing homes serving more residents of color had, on average, more COVID-related deaths. This is partly explained by the fact that these facilities tend to have more residents. But even when you look at the rate of death, the disparity persists. Read More Here
(Copyright (c) WBUR
Brother Lo, Co-Founder of BEJI and a member of the Black Boston COVID-19 Coalition expresses concern and dismay that the Coalition had been unable to secure a meeting with Gov. since April to address COVID-19 issues in highly impacted Black and other communities of color.
Audit finds 36% of nursing facilities are not adhering to states' COVID-19 guidelines. Leaders of BEJI demand further investigation and justice.
Black and Latinx advocates used Memorial Day to commemorate the people of color who have died from COVID-19 and demand a rollback of the state’s reopening plans.
Members of the social justice group Mijente organized a protest that ended on the steps of the Massachusetts State House Monday. Representatives of 50 other advocacy groups joined the crowd and urged Gov. Charlie Baker to reconsider reopening procedures.
BEJI distributes $40,000 in grocery & pharmacy gift cards to Boston's Black families.
Want to join BEJI in making a difference? Social and economic injustice is a crisis within our country and our City. To be included in justice we must build unity by bringing diverse groups together to be heard and take collective action. The Black Economic Justice Institute (BEJI) believes that together there is the will and ability to create a just society by speaking truth to power. Visit GoFundMe now to make a donation!
BEJI believes in direct action organizing.
Action organizing is based on the power of people to take collective action on their own behalf. BEJI focuses on direct action organizing.
BEJI believes in developing effective organizing leadership. We work to identify, recruit and develop leadership, build a community around that leadership and harness the power from the resources within our Boston community.
BEJI believes in the importance of educating and informing our community. We work to address constructive public response, devising public-communication strategies, providing practical information, educating and informing the public about economic justice.
BEJI has created a resource page with a compilation of existing federal, state, and city resources. In responding to the spread of the COVID-19, BEJI is working with various organizations to address this public health crisis in a smart, strategic, and serious manner for Boston's Black community. These resources will be updated on a regular basis.
The U.S. is home to roughly 2.5 million black-owned businesses, according to the Census Bureau. Although the vast majority are sole proprietorships or small-scale affairs, an increasing number have regional reach and national ambitions. Below, we resurface 10 black entrepreneurs who have recently been featured in Forbes and provide a directory of an additional 65 black-owned businesses to support. It is by no means an exhaustive list: We aren’t including numerous high-profile celebrity entrepreneurs like Oprah Winfrey or Rihanna or the many successful black business owners who sell services to other corporations, like World Wide Technology’s David Steward. These entrepreneurs and owners sell cosmetics, clothing, books, cars and financial products that you can buy. Fewer offer healthcare or consumer tech products, in part, because they lack access to venture funding. If you are interested in learning more about other black-owned businesses, or advertising your local Black-Owned business, visit our Black Businesses Nation page HERE
It is inevitable that Covid-19, like all economic, biological and natural disasters will have a disproportionate effect on Boston’s Black population. While direct payments from the stimulus bill passed by Congress will begin to help, economically, it will not raise up the Black community nor other communities of color to a level equal to whites. This is because Boston’s Black Community is much poorer than whites, a divide that is documented by the Boston Federal Reserve “The Color of Wealth” that found , Blacks in the Boston MSA have a median net worth (wealth) of $8 compared to whites, with an average net worth of $247,500. We are the ones who can least afford to lose our jobs, we are poorer than whites, we occupy insecure jobs at risk from forced shutdowns, have jobs that cannot be done from home, are on the front lines of home health care all while perpetually facing food insecurity, underemployment and chronic medical conditions. Health care disparity in the Black Community has been documented over and over, we have less access to health insurance, quality health care and little paid sick leave makes us more vulnerable to the health and economic effects of COVID-19.
Because we occupy jobs that are considered necessary, like grocery stores, pharmacies, aids and deliveries, we are more apt to work while sick because losing our income puts our families under additional stress and strain, now. Because our jobs are low paying, we cannot stock up on weeks and weeks of food and necessities, now we must venture out more and when we do, we use public transportation.
Even when times are good our fight is constant, we fight for our share of construction jobs, where data indicate that the City and State fall short in their obligation to hire our people. We fight for City and State contracts, where WGBH’s “ The Color of Public Money” reports less than one percent of municipal contracts are awarded to us and has been declining for years, we are left out, even while committees have been formed, studies have been conducted and Executive Orders have been decreed.
We have a plan to help our community. We are not sitting back, we have our churches, our societies, our connections, our families to mobilize, to help each other, now. We have begun by dedicating our weekly radio show to listening to stories and gathering data on our community needs. (The BEJI Report, on Boston Praise Radio & TV WBPG-LP 102.9 FM and the internet, from 8 to 10). We are in the process of distributing $20,000 worth of grocery and pharmacy gift cards. We have applied for all the grants and funds that have been made available to non-profits to continue this work. We must be included.
What will happen next when a City, that has a population consisting of 55% people of color, does not proportionality include us in the emergency philanthropic and government funding efforts? How will the City rebound when a majority of its people cannot work, cannot buy things, and cannot participate because we are tired and sick from our continuing fight while recovering from the disproportionate economic and health consequences brought about by COVID-19?
Brother Lo Banks and Priscilla Flint-Banks, Founders Black Economic Justice Institute, Inc.
BEJI is a (501 (c) 3) nonprofit oragnization
321 Blue Hill Ave.
Dorchester, MA 02121
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