Going Beyond Social Distancing to Distance—and Dismantle—Racism

For Immediate Release:
December 15, 2020

Kendra Bozarth, kendracomms@gmail.com
Ashley Mitchell, ashley@groundworkcollaborative.org   

Going Beyond Social Distancing to Distance—and Dismantle—Racism
New report centers long-term economic liberation for people of color in COVID-19 response and after

Social distancing has been essential in combating the spread of the coronavirus. This measure, however, is not available to everyone—namely, “essential” workers, who are predominantly people of color—and it does not undo the generational devastation of racism in America. 

Today, Liberation in a Generation (LibGen) released “Distancing Racism Beyond COVID-19: From Racial Exclusion to Radical Inclusion.” The authors argue that the real pandemic is and has always been systemic racism. Any plan to combat just COVID-19—however comprehensive—will not cure systemic racism. They demand that policymakers exceed recovery efforts and build a new economy with bold, transformative policies that create conditions where all people of color can not only live but also thrive.

“We are living through an economic and public health tragedy that, on so many levels, is destroying the livelihoods and lives of people of color,” said Solana Rice, co-founder and co-executive director at LibGen. “In this report specifically and in our work more broadly, we are rejecting any return to ‘normal,’ because normal only worked to serve and preserve white supremacy.”

“We can’t uproot systemic racism on our own,” said Daniella Zessoules, a policy analyst at Groundwork. “The policies we need, including guaranteed income and guaranteed health care, require massive interventions and investments by the government that are intentional and explicit.”

“What people of color need right now is power,” added Jeremie Greer, co-founder and co-executive director at LibGen. “We have to wholly dismantle racialized exclusion in our economy, and we’re working to unite the progressive movement—organizers of color especially—to take down racial capitalism.”

In the end, racial exclusion—in all of its forms—is exacerbating the current crisis and deepening generational inequities. Without a new, racially and radically inclusive economic system, the next “unprecedented” crisis will likely be much worse.

About Liberation in a Generation

Liberation in a Generation is a national movement support organization building the power of people of color to totally transform the economy—who controls it, how it works, and most importantly, for whom. It brings together economists, advocates, community organizers, and other proven and emerging leaders of color across the country to build a Liberation Economy, within one generation.