The Pandemic Isn’t Behind Black & Latinx Families: Equal Rights Advocates Uncovers Why

Many want to declare that the COVID-19 pandemic is over. Yet COVID-19 and its tangential impacts continue to hold women and families of color back. This combines with systemic inequities, harmful policies sweeping the nation, persistent gun and police violence, and political inaction leave Black and Latinx women under pressure and struggling to survive, let alone thrive. 

WDN grantee, Equal Rights Advocates – an organization that has been at the forefront of gender justice since 1974 – is fighting alongside essential workers and women of color to advance rights and opportunities in workplaces and schools across the U.S. They noticed national conversation around the pandemic, the workplace, and the care economy often featured Black and Latinx women as statistics, but rarely included their voices. With the goal to listen to and center Black and Latinx experiences, they interviewed Black and Latinx families through a cross-state survey and kitchen table talks

When You Listen to Black and Latinx Families, This Is What You Hear

Equal Rights Advocate’s survey uncovered compelling throughlines: the inadequacy of work, the pressures of childcare, the burden of debt, and scant avenues to building assets for families. A full 50% of those surveyed are struggling to make ends meet and are falling years behind financially due to increased caregiving responsibilities and debt during the pandemic.

  • Over 25% of survey respondents expect childcare responsibilities will delay or prevent returning to previous levels of employment.
  • Over 25% expect childcare responsibilities will delay or prevent beginning or continuing education.
  • 20% expect childcare responsibilities will delay or prevent achieving long-term financial goals.
  • 86% experienced one or more of the following shifts in employment because of the pandemic: layoff, furlough, decrease in hours or wages.
  • 77% experienced some form of discrimination in their current employment.
  • 85% of respondents took on additional debt since the pandemic began.

You Can’t Build Back Without Black and Latinx Women

Black and Latinx voices, as workers, caregivers, and voters, must be a part of any plan to build the economy and workers’ rights. The information Equal Rights Advocates uncovered during this process informed their Women’s Agenda for Gender, Racial, and Economic Justice. Together with partner organizations, Equal Rights Advocates is shepherding national narrative strategies, reducing organizing silos, and sharing stories and data across communities to build power and fight for affordable childcare, fair pay and job security, protection from discrimination, rental assistance, and debt relief. 

Ways You Can Support This Work and Fight for Black and Latinx Families

WDN’s grantmaking collective Opportunity & Equality For All funds organizations that fight for economic equality, workers’ rights, and reproductive and birth justice. In 2021, Opportunity & Equality moved $1.18 million to Equal Rights Advocates and 11 other organizations on the frontlines. In 2022, we renewed those commitments, recognizing that our work is far from over.

Opportunity & Equality has funded Equal Rights Advocates for the past four years. In 2019, we seed-funded their Women’s Agenda Policy Hub. Meant to connect advocates, policy influencers, and others eager to transform the law and influence the legislative process during 2020, it was so successful that they have continued to maintain and build it with additional resources. Since 2019, WDN has moved $700,000 to ERA, making them one of the grantees we have funded the most.

Also, a shout out to the WDN members who have served on the Equal Rights Advocates Board, including current board member Louette Colombano!

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