'Making sure Black people are at the table': Confronting anti-Black racism during COVID-19
LONDON, ONT. -- The London, Ont. author of 'Confronting Anti-Black Racism in our Community' focuses on how individuals already marginalized are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.
Martin McIntosh, director of Community Relations and Education at the Regional HIV/AIDS connection, released the compelling article as part of the London Community Foundation's Vital Signs report.
McIntosh says that racism in Canada “absolutely’ exists, it’s being experienced today and it lives right here in London. He hopes that the city will make sure the Black community is "at the table," so racially diverse communities can recover from COVID-19.
At the beginning stages of the pandemic, McIntosh says that across North American cities, more reports were showing that COVID-19 was impacting racially diverse communities and particularly Black communities.
“What that helped to uncover, is there is a lot of social and structural injustices and barriers that actually produce negative outcomes for racialized populations,” says McIntosh.
McIntosh says that multiple facets of racism - from overt racism, to micro-aggressions and systemic-aggressions, can place people in a position where they are facing greater social determinants of health.
“I’m talking about things like poverty, like job security and immigration status. All of these things are hurdles that stand in the way of positive health outcomes for many racially diverse communities.”
McIntosh wrote his article during the Black Lives Matter movement, but also took part in the rally against anti-Black racism. During that time The Middlesex-London Health Unit declared anti-Black racism as ‘a public health crisis.’
McIntosh says is happy with the health unit’s commitment to collect race-linked data moving forward but calls the action far too long in coming.
“The disproportionate health burdens borne by racialized communities as a result of systemic racism and its impacts is something that I have long seen to be true through the lenses of both my lived experience and a decade of work in the social services sector,” says Mcintosh.
When It comes to organizational leaders in both public and private sector, McIntosh would like to see a commitment that "goes beyond just words."
And he hopes that Londoners will collectively commit to actively examining and addressing anti-Black racism in all its forms.