In our mission to eliminate racism, YWCA Columbus studies both the causes and effects of inequity. And although race does not determine a person’s health, racism can—and does.
Historically, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) groups have been entangled in systems that conspire to negatively impact their quality of life and health. Generations of wage and wealth gaps can limit their ability to afford proper medical care, insurance, prescriptions, or specialty treatments—in fact, Latinx people have the highest uninsured rates of any racial or ethnic group. Discriminatory lending and rental policies often segregate Black and Latinx people in neighborhoods with poorer-quality air, unclean water, and food deserts. Imbalances in transportation can make it harder to reach doctors, hospitals, nursing homes, and care facilities. All of these inequities—and more—contribute to lower life expectancy, higher rates of long-term health conditions, and increased maternal and infant mortality among Black and Latinx people than their white counterparts.
The disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on people of color only highlights this divide.
- Black residents make up 14% of the population, but 18.1% of hospitalizations and 10.9% of COVID-19 deaths
- The latest research on COVID-19 shows that for Black people, life expectancy is nearly 3 times worse, and 2 times worse for Latinx people
At YWCA Columbus, we believe that to challenge systems of oppression, you must fearlessly call them out. That’s why we joined with other civic leaders demanding that our city and state declare that racism is a public health crisis. The City of Columbus passed the resolution—read its full text here—as did communities and counties across the state. Senators Hearcel Craig and Sandra Williams reintroduced similar legislation at the state level, and Senator Sherrod Brown introduced a resolution at the federal level. Both pieces of writing currently sit as Introduced.
Spreading awareness and providing education about racism and gender discrimination make up the beginning stages of our work. From here, we must progress to action. Now that we’ve gained traction in helping every person in our region understand the negative effects of racism on the health of BIPOC citizens, we must do the work that will change this situation. We want to redistribute the programming and resourcing of all health systems so that marginalized Ohioans can receive better access to health and healthcare.
How your contribution helps: Your generosity helps YWCA Columbus serve people who have been under-resourced, educate our community about racism, and take swift action to correct injustices.
- During the pandemic, your donations of money, material items, and meals enabled YWCA Columbus to continue providing all ongoing physical and mental health services—including counseling, addiction recovery, and wellness support—to residents at our Family Center and Women’s Residency.
- We’ve continued to provide Diversity, Equity & Inclusion training to increase the racial literacy, advocacy, and activism among members of our community—465 individuals and 64 companies have participated in training so far this year.