A Call for $1 Trillion in Federal Aid to Prevent Further Racial, Economic Divisions 

by June 17, 2020

NYC action in solidarity with Ferguson. Mo, encouraging a boycott of Black Friday Consumerism.

Without immediate aid to states, cities and towns in the next coronavirus relief bill, the structural inequalities – which have exposed systemic racism, led to disproportionate deaths and economic catastrophe among black communities – will worsen.

WASHINGTON – Hakeem Jeffries joined AFSCME President Lee Saunders, senior economist at the Center for American Progress, Gbenga Ajilore, and front-line nursing home worker Sandra Herbert to discuss the urgent need for state and local funding to beat this pandemic and safely reopen the economy. Speakers will also discuss how this aid is vital for black communities, which have been hit the hardest by three simultaneous crises: a public health pandemic, an economic free fall and long-standing structural racism.

COVID-19 has exacted a brutal toll on the black community and exposed the impact of systemic racism in America. The underlying inequalities exposed by the COVID-19 crisis has helped fuel the Black Lives Matter protests across the country. African Americans are dying at disproportionately high rates throughout the country due to less access to health care and, therefore, high rates of underlying conditions. The pandemic-related recession interrupted the tight labor markets that helped close the wage gap suffered by African Americans, and the historically high African American unemployment rate remained unchanged last month despite the rate decreasing for Caucasians. They are also overrepresented in front-line service and health care jobs, putting them directly at risk of contracting COVID-19.

If the Senate doesn’t immediately provide aid to our states, cities and towns, we will continue to hemorrhage public-sector jobs and that will disproportionately hurt black workers and black communities whose jobless rate is 33% higher than the unemployment rate among Caucasians.


Lee Saunders, AFSCME President

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, New York’s 8th District

Sandra Herbert, certified nursing assistant at Paramus Veterans Nursing Home in New Jersey

Gbenga Ajilore, senior economist at the Center for American Progress


 AFSCME’s 1.4 million members provide the vital services that make America happen. With members in communities across the nation, serving in hundreds of different occupations — from nurses to corrections officers, child care providers to sanitation workers — AFSCME advocates for fairness in the workplace, excellence in public services and freedom and opportunity for all working families.

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