As Black History Month comes to a close, the United Way of Pennsylvania’s ALICE data shows much more work lies ahead of us regarding racial justice in Pennsylvania. In 2018, 60% of Black households in PA had an income below the ALICE threshold, compared to 39% of all PA households. Living below this threshold translates into struggling to afford necessities like housing and food.
Black people are contracting COVID-19 at higher rates and dying at higher rates than their White counterparts. These disparities are being fed by multiple factors:
- Black households are more likely to face financial hardship: 60% of Black households are unable to afford basic household essentials in their communities — nearly double the rate of White households
- Black families remain disproportionately likely to live in substandard housing in neighborhoods of concentrated poverty — those with few grocery stores, banks, parks, or recreation facilities, with inadequate health care services and under-resourced public schools, and with high levels of violence and exposure to environmental hazards
- Black households and communities have long faced institutional barriers to quality health care
In 2021, this is simply unacceptable, and we MUST do better. The Pennsylvania AFL-CIO is committed to ending racism in all forms and committed to giving all working families in Pennsylvania a voice in the workplace, a livable wage, healthcare, and a decent retirement. This conversation cannot just happen once a month but must continue the entire year. Here at the State Federation, we plan to continue to educate our members about the importance of racial equality and plan to continue to advocate for the long-overdue changes. We welcome you to join us in this effort!