This first event in our COVID-19 reflections series will feature a panel discussion on the local impact of safety nets on communities of color during the COVID-19 pandemic. April, 2022.
0:00:30.9 Susan Collins: Good morning. And thank you so much for joining us. I'm Susan Collins, the Provost of the University of Michigan and professor of Public Policy and Economics. And I'm absolutely delighted to be joining all of you this morning as we launch COVID-19 Reflections, a series on race, health, and economic justice. It's really an exciting opportunity for sharing our learning about the pandemic, and so, I particularly want to thank the Ford School Center for racial justice, the anti-racism collaborative at the National Center for Institutional Diversity and Poverty Solutions at the University of Michigan for their support of these important conversations. The university is engaged extensively in work on issues related to anti-racism, and I must say the collaboration between these three units really suggests that for this new series.
0:01:25.0 SC: Among the activities that are supported by the provost office are the anti-racism hiring initiative, which will bring new faculty to our campus, and the anti-racism collaborative that strengthens our research infrastructure and creates opportunities for faculty to connect to cross-disciplines and spark new approaches to work in this area while spotlighting and highlighting the important research and findings that are underway. This COVID-19 Reflection series will make important contributions to the campus-wide work. It will deepen our understanding of the many and varied impacts of the pandemic on communities of color. It will also support exploration of systemic racism in an emergency context and contribute to the development of policy proposals that offer ways to address the disparities that we have witnessed.
0:02:14.3 SC: This series will also strengthen the human infrastructure that supports anti-racism work. It provides a place for people to connect across fields, sparking new ideas and contributing to the development of partnerships and research, teaching, and public engagement. Our panelists today, Bill Lopez, Kat Stafford, Charles Williams and our moderator, Mara Ostfeld will focus on the impacts of local safety nets on communities of color during the pandemic. The focus here on local is important. As we've seen over the past two years, the local situation had a major impact on health and well-being during the pandemic. Many factors contributed to differential impacts including housing segregation, food and medication deserts, availability of transportation, access to care, and more. Our speakers are all change makers who have deep knowledge about the impacts of COVID-19 on communities, particularly here in Michigan. They've also seen how communities have responded and bring important knowledge about local actions that can address these impacts.
0:03:26.0 SC: The question before us has many parts, how has systemic racism contributed to the inequity that was laid bare by the pandemic? How can we address it, and what are the strengths in local communities that we can build on to ensure equitable outcomes in normal times and in emergencies? This important conversation begins today, and well, with the active engagement of faculty, local communities, policy makers, journalists, students and others lead to the development of effective ways to reduce and eliminate systemic racism in our society. And so, I'm pleased now to hand things over to Associate Director... Associate Faculty Director of Communications at Poverty Solutions, Mara Ostfeld who will both introduce our panelists and moderate what I know will be a very interesting and important conversation. So let me turn things over to Mara.
0:04:25.6 Mara Ostfeld: Good morning, everyone, and thank you so much, Susan. Thank you so much for joining us here this morning, and thank you for all of your leadership during your time and tenure at the University of Michigan. You will be deeply missed by everyone at the University of Michigan, and especially at the Ford School. I am so thrilled to be moderating this event with this illustrious panel of speakers today, and I am really thrilled to be able to introduce them all. I'm gonna start off with a high level introduction of each panelist, and then I'm gonna ask each panelist to say a few words about an aspect of inequality on the local level that they are focused on in their work. So I'd love to start off by introducing Dr. William or Bill Lopez. Dr. Lopez is a clinical assistant professor at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, and a faculty associate in the Department of Latina/Latino Studies.
0:05:21.7 MO: His research and teaching center on racial health inequities, especially those experienced by Latinx immigrant communities in the Midwest in rural United States. His award-winning book, Separated: Family and community in the aftermath of an immigration raid, documents the strain that deportation places on mixed status families and communities in the Midwest. Of course, what you may know him best for is his witty Twitter commentary. Most recently, he depicted the public health trends through graphs that resembled the dresses worn by celebrities in the Oscars, so if you haven't seen this already, I strongly encourage you to follow him and check this out. But for now, I wanna just ask you, Bill, can you say a little bit about the forms of local inequality that one or two of your recent projects have explored?
0:06:05.4 Bill Lopez: Yeah, thank you so much for the introduction, Dr. Ostfeld. And I wondered how long we would make it in this conversation without you bringing up [chuckle] the Twitter thread, now we know the answer is about 45 seconds. So, most of my work looks at the health impacts of immigration enforcements on the local level we're doing, we're looking at the possibility of an un-arms non-police response in Ann Arbor, and we're also working with graphic artists and a separate project to develop high school discussion guides around books written by authors of color. Thanks so much, Mara.
0:06:45.3 MO: Okay, I wanna come back to that 'cause I believe you have an exhibit coming up, I wanna hear more about that.
0:06:49.0 BL: That's correct. Sure.
0:06:51.2 MO: But for now, I'd next like to introduce Kat Stafford. Kat is a Detroit native, she's a national investigative reporter and a global investigations correspondent focused on race and inequity at the Associated Press. Ms. Stafford has received several awards, only a few of which I'll mention for her work, including the Society of Professional Journalists, 2017 young Journalist of the Year award, a 2017 Detroit young professional Vanguard Award, and the 2019 Ida B. Wells Investigative Fellowship. Quality of Ms. Stafford's work has enabled her to serve as one of the most influential figures in shaping the world's level of attention to and understanding of many issues, most notably those occurring in Detroit. So, thank you for being here, Kat. Would you mind saying a bit about forms of local inequality that you have explored in one or two of your recent projects?
0:07:48.3 Kat Stafford: Yeah, sure. Thank you for that amazing introduction. Wow, it's so strange to hear someone talk about [chuckle] yourself in that way as a journalist. But I've spent the bulk of my career really investigating and reporting on disparities, specifically impacting Black Americans. And right now, I am actually a Knight-Wallace Fellow with the University of Michigan, and I'm working on a project that is examining how from birth to death generations of Black Americans have faced a vast number of health disparities. And this project is an offshoot of the COVID-19 laying bare the fact that these disparities have always existed in this country.
0:08:37.7 MO: That's really interesting, so I might ask you to speak a little bit more about that. Next I just wanna introduce Charles E. Williams II. He is the Pastor of the Historic King Solomon Baptist church in Detroit, and the Michigan chair of the National Action Network. He's often heard on the Keeping it Real radio program with Reverend Al Sharpton, and he's also a doctoral candidate in the University of Michigan Department of Sociology, where he's engaged in research at the Center on assets, education, and inclusion, as well as at Poverty Solutions. As someone deeply engaged in local organizing, Mr. Williams probably has a hundred other titles serving on a million boards and committees that I'm not gonna include. But I will say that if you were doing any work in Detroit, you will inevitably run into Mr. Williams over and over again. I'm routinely impressed at how often his name comes up on a million different subjects in terms of local organizing. So, I'm really honored to have you with us today.
0:09:33.0 MO: Mr. Williams, would you mind saying a bit about the forms of local inequality that you have explored in one or two of your recent projects?
0:09:42.9 Charles E. Williams II: Yeah, I'm not doing this. April Fools.
0:09:46.9 MO: You're not doing this?
0:09:47.9 CI: April Fools.
0:09:49.5 MO: Okay. [laughter] Someone had to do something, so I appreciate you did that.
0:09:53.7 CI: I had to do it. I had to do it. It had to happen, okay? It had to happen. Look, thank you Celeste Watkins Hayes...
0:10:00.9 MO: I was like, this is an audio thing, but...
0:10:02.7 CI: Yeah. [laughter] Thank you, Celeste for the invitation, Watkins Hayes, and Mara Ostfeld, appreciate it. Great panel to be on with such great individuals doing great work. And currently I'm working on community center interventions for improved vaccine uptake for COVID. This is a NIH funded study working as the COA for the qualitative aim, along with Fernanda Cross and Ken Resnicow and Erica Marsh. That's my academic work, of course, I'm a busy body, so I just can't do the research portion by itself, but I'm also working on getting more access and resources for neighborhood level Black churches to impact health equity, we're on this COVID, whether it's testing, whether it's vaccine, whether it's food insecurity. I think that's about it. Did everybody freeze?
0:11:05.3 MO: Okay. Great. Thank you.
0:11:05.9 CI: Okay. Alright.
0:11:07.7 MO: Thank you so much. We're like, we're two years into COVID and doing everything online, but still, these types of audio and technical issues are just part of our lives now, so I appreciate you guys all being patient as we work through these things. But you guys each mentioned a couple of different topics that I really wanna delve more into it, as we try to fully understand and keep salient and present on the top of our mind, the impact that COVID has had disproportionately on communities of color. So, you each have mentioned some different projects, but when you think of the impact that COVID has had on the communities you work most closely with, what's at the top of your head? What's the thing that you want people to be paying more attention to? And I'd love to start off with you Kat, 'cause you mentioned some of this work you're doing on health disparities that disproportionately affects Black community. So can you say a little bit more about that?
0:12:03.5 KS: Yeah, you know, for me, the pandemic, again, has just really laid bare of the fact that these things have always existed, and COVID-19 was merely just another layer of something that just really exacerbated all of these issues that have always been here. And for me, that has manifested in me really trying to keep boots to the ground, to talk to those who have been directly impacted. And I think what we are seeing right now, unfortunately, are a lot of Americans who are trying to move past the pandemic as if it's not still happening, right? And while we have seen, of course, the case loads come down, less deaths occur per day, we have to really reckon with the fact that there are a lot of people that are still hurting right now, that still do not have the resources that they need, that still do not have adequate access to testing and so many other things. So for me, it's about shifting my work toward looking at these new daily realities for a lot of folks and really showing people, how did we get here? Which means we have to talk, we have to reckon with the fact that a lot of the disparities, all of the disparities that we are seeing are truly rooted in this legacy of structural racism across America.
0:13:22.8 MO: I want you to say more about that, because for some people in our audience that might be really obvious and intuitive, but can you give other examples. You're saying that it's not just that these death disparities and incidences of COVID, these weren't the beginning of health disparities, but they're building on long-standing inequity. So can you say more about some of those long-standing inequities that should come to mind when we think about the inequality you're studying and talking about?
0:13:48.2 KS: Yeah, you know, I mentor a lot of younger journalists and I've been trying to help folks realize when we're reporting on these topics, we have to take that step back and not just say, Yeah, Black Americans are more likely to experience these particular comorbidities like diabetes, asthma, all of these things that we know make you more likely to suffer more severe cases of COVID, right? How did these communities get here? Well, it's a lack of access to food, it's a lack of access to medical care. It is the racism and bias that folks encounter when they enter these medical systems. It is a very valid mistrust that people have of the medical and healthcare system, right? And it's not just Tuskegee, right? It's not just about the Tuskegee experimentation.
0:14:32.1 KS: Again, we have a legacy of medical experimentation on Black Americans and other communities of color that led us to this point where you have all these variety of factors in place that led to our communities experiencing these disparate outcomes. And I think it's really important for our communities, our leaders, to really accept that that is what they need to grapple with, because you have to address that before you could really come up with actual solutions to address what we are experiencing right now.
0:15:04.3 MO: I really like how you frame that, and I think there's an importance to mention of what you're talking about, we see a lot of people who are hesitant to get vaccines and it's important that we don't group them together. There's people who simply don't believe in COVID and then there's people who do but are distrustful of the medical system or institution... Various government institutions, and we see that, and the fact that Black Americans were actually significantly more likely to do masking and use other preventative measures early in the pandemic than other groups. And I think that's an important way of thinking about this, that people who are hesitant to get vaccines or trust medical providers, there's a lot of reasons and they shouldn't all be grouped together. And I think the way you framed that was an important angle to consider when interpreting that. Charles, you talked a little bit about your work on food insecurity, how much does what Kat's talking about overlap with your own research and the work that you've been doing? How much have you seen those same patterns, now there other things that you've also seen?
0:16:03.1 CI: Look, I've been doing interviews with individuals, and I can just tell you that a lot of folks don't realize that when they mobilize the world, that there was a world that was already mobilized in Black America, urban centers across America, individuals who did not have food, individuals who did not have access to healthy food, before the pandemic and the pandemic just exacerbated it. In fact, with pandemic, March 13th, the governor puts stay-at-home orders out and individuals were stuck trying to figure out, how do I get to the grocery store? How am I supposed to access the usual safety net or the normal safety net that we typically utilize? People like... The organizations like Meals on Wheels were mobilized trying to figure out how they would deliver meals and how they would get folks access to those resources. Black churches came together, worked real closely with neighborhood level Black churches that said, Hey, it's a pandemic, it's an emergency, we are essential and we need to be essential to those neighborhoods, delivered 750,000 meals across the city of Detroit and South Eastern Michigan.
0:17:16.4 CI: Utilizing that network, we took our church buses and our church vans, we opened up our doors and made them warehouses to make sure that we could support those who were in need. Because they were in need beforehand, but the social safety net that was available for them beforehand was very hard to reach even then. So imagine being immobilized making it even even more difficult for them to reach. And so whether it was the 750,000 meals or whether it was the fact that it was very difficult to get down to the State Fair, and even when you got there and you had to have an appointment, somebody had to advocate and say, "Look, we need no reason testing, we need the opportunity for folks who are in neighborhoods to walk up to a space, a site, and to test." Finally, the state heard us and opened up community testing sites, as well as the city of Detroit opened up community testing sites, where individuals could go to places where they half way did trust before the pandemic and they still trust even now to get tested, as well as to do the same for vaccine.
0:18:22.6 CI: So, I think what this pandemic has shown us is that we can do things differently and we can actually reach people who we so-call say we could not reach before the pandemic. And I think I need to drive that home because, Black churches have been there for the Black community for so very long, making bricks without straw, nobody was to save us but us, but now they realize they cannot reach these places without us. And so, we're there and we're engaged, and I think that is making a difference in terms of helping folks access the safety net that they couldn't access before.
0:19:03.0 MO: Thank you. Thank you. Bill, I wanna ask you, often we talk about the adversity that communities of color experienced as a result, or that were magnified as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but there's often a lot of differences in the ways that that adversity was experienced are the things that were just mentioned by Mr. Williams and Miss Stafford, are those things that you also found in your work focusing on Latinx communities, or were there other angles that you think were more pronounced?
0:19:38.5 BL: Yeah, that's a great question. It's always intimidating to respond after Kat and Charles with your eloquent answers, but I'll do my best.
0:19:49.6 CI: We from Eastern Michigan University, so that's how they taught us.
0:19:52.9 BL: There you go. Well, so I'll start, I feel very fortunate, my parents moved up from San Antonio to Michigan a year before the pandemic, and so I remember when the pandemic started and they lived a mile away, so I feel very lucky that my kids were able to go to their grandparents for at least a year before we all started quarantining. And at the beginning of the pandemic, I was working with the Washington County Health Department, or at least going to share a video with them in Spanish to talk to the Spanish-speaking Latino community here about what we needed to know about the pandemic, and a lot of these phrases we didn't know in English and I didn't know in Spanish, and I had to work through them with my mom, and Esther, how do you say maintain social distance, for example. How do you say I wear a mask? And eventually I got those things.
0:20:46.4 BL: But my mom was like, "Yeah, that's important but what you need to know how to say is [0:20:51.2] ____," and to say that in English, she's like, "You gotta tell people when they're gonna be able to hug their grandkids again." And it was really profound to me when she said that, because what I started to realize is we could have the literal language, try literally translate, but what we also needed to do is to translate what we wanted, the behaviors that we needed to stay safe, so that they worked in other communities with other communities, priorities and my mom's example, I was like, "Good, when will I get to hug my grandkids again? What do you need me to do to make that happen?" And part of this goes back, Charles said, folks will go to places they trusted or semi trusted. And we saw much of that in the Latino community as well. We do... At a local church nearby, we saw organizations organizing for vaccine clinics and in conjunction with the Washington County Health Department's, Spanish-speaking, not asking for ID and plenty of parking, parking is one that people never think of when they think of accessing healthcare for undocumented folks.
0:21:58.4 BL: If you're going downtown, if you're going to the hospital and you're worried about either police presence or something as simple as getting a parking ticket, it could lead to jail and possibly deportation, these are things that fundamentally shape your access to these resources. And so going back to your question, the original question, what has the pandemic like largely taught me what I hope stays with us is that disease and how disease spread as well as how we present that spread is about community and family and the people we need to be close to, more so than it is about the literal translation of the science behind what's going on.
0:22:34.1 MO: Thank you, I appreciate that. Are there other elements... You mentioned the intersection of this public health crisis and you started to get into police, are there other ways that you saw that intersection magnify some of the disparities that people experience and how this played out in lives?
0:22:52.9 BL: Yeah, so you're pushing me to talk about the prison system earlier in this discussion that I was kind of planning, but sure. Was it Charles or Kat? One of you also said the pandemic gave us a chance to do things differently, and one of the things that we saw was we actually engaged in decarceration, so we released some folks from prison. Now, this was only after advocacy and pushing and sadly lots of death in prison, including in Michigan prisons, at one point, Michigan prisons were rated number three in case rates and second in deaths, but thanks to advocacy, there was elements of decarceration, including reduced to low-level arrests and $0 bail. And what the ACLU study found that this reduced prison population was unrelated to crime. And what this is pushing us to think is that our obsession, our American obsession with prison never was necessary, as Kat said, it was part of historic and racist structural injustice, it was never necessary, and there was this moment where we're able to push against it and push and decrease the people in prison where we were showing this is not necessary, this is a way of maintaining racial disparities. I could talk about...
0:24:13.3 BL: My work is on prison and in case of undocumented folks and immigrant communities working in factories, and there's lots of similarities in the spaces in which bodies of color are packed together that I'll talk about later as well, but... To your question, but I think it's given us a chance also to think differently, including eliminating or reducing our obsession with incarceration.
0:24:36.5 CI: If I could step in here, Mara, it has done wonders. And really, quite honestly, what concerns me most is in all of this quest to go back to normal, what are the things that we're picking up that we should have should have left pre-pandemic? DT put a moratorium on set offs. They never done that before. Very difficult to get them to do that, but they did that. While we're getting ready to be or consider ourself pre-endemic or post-pandemic, whatever you wanna call it, rates are getting ready to go up. Water, I've been out there protesting and Kat been out there freezing cold, covering us while we were protesting, trying to get water shut offs, and all of a sudden pandemic come and they shut...
0:25:40.9 CI: They do, put a moratorium for water shut offs, landlord tenant. I've stood in houses literally, while the landlord and the bailiff was trying to foreclose or kick out a tenant, been trying to get a moratorium, we've been trying to get the treasurer to put together a moratorium... These are some things that were revolutionary, and then of course, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention my friend Luke Schafer and his policy advocacy in shaping the Child Care Tax Credit.
0:26:13.9 CI: Minimum wage. I've been protesting for $15 an hour, for so long, and then immediately when the pandemic hit, they realized very quickly they better raise those wages, or no one's gonna stock those shelves. So there are so many things that have... We have seen happen, we deployed literally at least for a good six months to a year, almost a universal income to individuals who were at the very bottom and who did not have the benefit of working from a Zoom account or working from a BlueJeans account, or even a Google account like we have. And so we've done so much to be able to have the opportunity to take care of our children and ways that we haven't before, even though that might seem small, I believe those years will be memorable to so many children who were growing nuts in the house while parents were on Zoom, so we've done some things that we should not all think about throwing away because we're entering into another status of this pandemic, or so we think anyhow.
0:27:29.3 KS: Mara, could I jump in? Because Charles, you just made a great point there about the water shut offs that I really wanna crystallize for folks who might not have the full context. Since 2014, the city of Detroit has shut off more than 100,000 residential accounts, that's an enormous figure. And if you think back to the early days of the pandemic, what were they telling us casting one of the best ways to protect yourself is to what, wash your hands. Wash your hands. But yet you have a whole population of folks in the city of Detroit, one of the largest Black American cities in the nation, 78% African-American, and you had a huge amount of folks who could not do that, so think about the disastrous effects that had the fact that you could not wash your hands, did that spread the virus? There are doctors that believe that it could have contributed to that. And so when you kind of take that step back and look at how field policy decisions have also played a role in what we have seen, I think it's important to realize that all of the things we were told all along that could not have been done they were able to do them, to Charles point, they have always said, "No, we can't."
0:28:40.7 KS: We can't stop water shut offs, but yet they did, so I think we really need to sit down and talk and figure out how can we move forward to really put these better policies in place to give folks the help that they need, because I'll tell you there is a lot of concern right now on the ground in the city of Detroit, with folks who are like, "I have had this very long reprieve from not having the water, worried about my water being shut off, will it be shut off this summer, what are we gonna see happen this summer." And I think that is what I mean when I say the pandemic is not over, these concerns are going to continue for years to come.
0:29:15.8 BL: Mara, can I add to that?
0:29:17.7 MO: Of course.
0:29:19.5 BL: And Kat bringing up the water shutoff and hand washing is a great point from the public health perspective, lots of what we did at the beginning of the pandemic, and at least midway through was paint this is as a model of individual behavior change. We individually needed to mask, we do need to wear masks, we individually needed to wash our hands, we also do, but there's just not water available for everyone, or there's not masks available for everyone. My friend Alejandro was detained during the pandemic, this is his art right here, he was detained during the pandemic, and shout out to the School of Public Health students, they collected... We collected soap for Cahoon, excuse from Enroue and we brought soap so that people detained during a pandemic would be able to have bars of soap, and this was... Lots of us knew this, but it was also a lightbulb for the rest of the country that individual behaviors can't change when it's structurally impossible, you can't wash hands where there's not the resources to get detained folks who were detained, soap. Same with water shut offs. You can't wash hands when the water is shut off, so my hope is that moving forward, we think about this, before we talk about individual level behavior change, we make sure the system is in place to allow it.
0:30:39.1 MO: Yeah, I really appreciate that you got into this in the US, there's a long history of loving to frame, it is a meritocracy, and if the individuals work hard, they can achieve anything, but I love how you guys are each highlighting just that it's obviously not equal access to these different individual behaviors that have been claimed to allow people to access certain opportunities. We talked about water, you guys each mentioned water shut offs, Charles, you mentioned the eviction moratorium, talking about enhancing access to digital inclusion to internet resources and computer resources. There was a lot of policies that you guys each mentioned, were all of a sudden made possible when this pandemic happened, are there other policies that come to mind that really do need to be considered as something that needs to be changed on a regular institutional level on an ongoing basis, so that people don't have to always be asking the questions that you just mentioned, Kat like when is my water gonna... Is it gonna be shut off again in a couple of months, are there other policy reforms that you saw occur during the pandemic, or that you think need to occur that were recently brought to light because of the pandemic?
0:31:51.1 CI: Well, I'll jump in there. If it's okay.
0:31:54.4 MO: Of course.
0:31:56.7 CI: I think that as we continue to observe the pandemic and the access to vaccines and testing, we really need to continue to invest in neighborhood level organizations so that we are able to reach people who shouldn't have to catch two buses to get access to an opportunity or a resource, you should not have to catch three buses or two buses, or take a taxi or an Uber to see an eye doctor, you should not have to see... You should not have to catch two and three buses to see a public care person or take a taxi. You should be able to do this in your neighborhood, and you should be able to do this fairly well in a space that you actually trust. I think that having vaccines and testing and churches from what we've seen, such fine in regards to the data that has come back from Michigan Department of Health and Human Services as they have basically planted their testing and vaccines, and some Black churches across the State of Michigan, along with the Michigan National Guard, is there are people who would never have...
0:33:22.6 CI: Never would have, as a matter of fact. They did not go to TCF, they did not go to... There were people in Washington County who I had the opportunity to meet and talk with who did not go to the big house and would not go to the big house to take a vaccine or to get a test, there are individuals who will not go or did not go to Ford Field, haven't been to Ford Field, don't go to Ford Field. Matter of fact, don't even go downtown to access a vaccine, did not stand in line for it, but they did at some point as we waited patiently, and I wanna say waiting patiently is important because there are a lot of Black people that are saying that... It's not that they're vaccine hesitant, it's not that they're against vaccines, they're not an anti-vaxxer, they're not against going to a public health professional, they're not against healthcare, it's the access to that healthcare, and I believe that this is a time where we really need to embellish and really strengthen the relationship between the doors of the church being open not just on Sunday morning, but Monday through Saturday, specifically to provide those needs for folks who are in neighborhoods who could literally walk down the street or walk around the corner.
0:34:49.4 CI: I said it at the beginning of this, and I probably get a little bit antsy when I say it, because I was organizing this in March 13th when they shut the state down, and I had social service agencies that's got 20 times the budget as the volunteer effort. That we had with Black churches, taking our own resources to get this food around, or even to open our doors up and make them available, Vernon Chapel, AME Church on the north side of Detroit, opening up churches to make this stuff available and realizing that there are people who literally walk through the doors in tears saying I wanted to do this, I was scared to do this, but because it's right here, and I didn't have to go far, and there's a certain amount of built in trust in this space. Even if I'm not a member of this church, I'm gonna go ahead and take the vaccine.
0:35:51.2 CI: I think that speaks volumes for public health and volumes for really bringing health equity policies together for the future of healthcare in itself. It's revolutionary, although at the same time, it's something that we've known for so long, but because the institutions itself are more concerned and consumed with being in control, and they may not understand what it means for the doors of a Black church to be open, they turn their head and invest in other spaces, I'm only suggesting that when... And I certainly wanna hear from Bill and others about other communities, but I'm suggesting that I've had the opportunity over the last two years to see with my own eyes what Black churches doors being open throughout the week to provide these interventions has done for those communities and done for those people who are typically underrepresented in those communities.
0:37:00.6 MO: It's interesting 'cause we often talk in the US about the importance of keeping church and state separate, but what you're essentially saying is that your church and the institutions you work with served as a local government, they were doing all the things that local governments are often charged with doing on behalf of the communities that you work with.
0:37:19.4 CI: Yeah, at any point in time, we had congregations in Detroit that were places where we had employers who were begging folks to come back to work. At the same time the employers were there, we had lawyers there who is helping people get expunged, we had vaccines there we had testing there as well, we have folks who were helping people get through the bureaucracy of trying to fill out the CERA application so that they could get rental assistance of which became very well under-utilized because they put so much bureaucracy in place that nobody could access it, but some non-profit organization, and I ain't calling no names, even though I will call them out.
0:38:00.1 CI: But at the same time, some big organization had a whole bunch of money to deploy these applications and get people resources for rental assistance, and nobody's spending the money, even today, if you look in the budget and how much has been spent for CERA is pills in comparison to how many people who are out there really hurting and need those resources, but you got this online application that you gotta be... I had trouble filling it out for other people, you have to be spending half the day going through on your phone or on your computer if you barely have internet access, and these got these walls and barriers, I'm saying breaking down social safety net walls and barriers, breaking down public health walls and barriers are the availability of the resource, so the space and the place and the people are already there. We just gotta use it. And Linda Chatters and Dr. Taylor say the same thing in their studies. Lawrence Mamiya and other Andrew Billingsley, other scholars from social work and sociology input they'll say the exact same thing.
0:39:09.6 MO: Thank you. Kat, I wanna ask you to offer your reflections both on the comment that Reverend Williams just shared, but also we started off this point by talking about all the different policy reforms that you also say to previously weren't thought as possible, but all of a sudden became possible and somewhere during the pandemic, are there other policy reforms that either you saw happen or you saw a unique need to take place over these past two years that you think need to be considered more strongly on a permanent level?
0:39:45.6 KS: Yeah, it's a great question, but it's a complicated question because I feel like we could talk for hours about all of the policies that need to be changed. That need to be dismantled. But what I will say, just building off of Reverend Williams comments, is that what we saw was all of these organizations that have been rooted in the community for so long, really step up to the plate in ways in which they saw that local governments were failing to connect with people, and I think that it's so important for us to think about how can we shift resources to those organizations, to those folks on the ground who had that built in trust already, like he's saying. That is such a crucial aspect of this, we don't have that trust, you're gonna have such a hard time making connections with people, and why is there a lack of transfer.
0:40:38.6 KS: All of the reasons that we've been stating. So one, I think we need to start with trust, start with talking about what does access really look like for these communities? Because you have folks that have transportation needs, you have folks that had digital needs who aren't able to get online to schedule vaccine appointments or testing and all of that. So what I'm saying is this really needs to be a multi-layered, multi-pronged approach that reaches across all of these different systems, different organizations with folks really working together. We can't work in silos, anymore. And I think that is one of the good things that has unfortunately emerged out of this pandemic, is that it has forced a lot of systems that were so used to working within their own little bubbles to really reckon with the fact that we have to begin to work with each other, especially folks who already have the trust with these communities who for very valid reasons, don't want to work with specific organizations. And I will say that it has been very disappointing to see so many organizations that are led by Black folks that are led by other people of color be underfunded for so long, there have been folks like... Gosh, I'm forgetting this woman's name, but people that have been distributing water...
0:41:55.8 CI: Water Warriors. Monica.
0:42:00.4 KS: Yes, Monica, who has been distributing water for years, Nika Williams theres so many others that have been on the ground doing this work, but they rarely get the credit and they rarely get the support that they need. So can we shift money to those organizations because we know that work is going to need to continue and we need to bring them to the table when we are developing policies. I think what we have seen too much of is policies being developed by folks who don't look or reflect the community, and what has that led us to, this very moment that we're in right now. So you gotta bring folks to the table at the start of these discussions, they deserve to have their voices heard because they're the ones that are being impacted by all of these changes and what's been happening on the ground in these communities.
0:42:44.6 CI: You know Kat, if you can... Y'all know who y'all invited when you invited me so say what, I'm gonna go ahead and say. We can spend $180 million to give billionaires money so that they can build buildings. We got $870 million in the city of Detroit, another 300 in Wayne County, it's a billion dollars right there. Plus, there's more money coming down the pipe, but at the same time, we've got a public health problem in the city of Detroit, 80% of our folks are African-Americans, 60% single female had a household, 60% young people in poverty. It seems like to me that if we can give billionaires, millions of dollars, then we can give organizations that are trying to change the tide of the issues that we face around public health and social safety net, the amount of resources that they need that they're able to service these folks and get folks up and out and up, up and out and into society where they can move out of poverty.
0:43:49.5 MO: I like this angle, again, that you guys are all bringing that often we talk about these extensive experiences with adversity and inequality and hardship, and that ends up being kind of the emphasis, but you guys are also each emphasizing this aspect of innovation and thriving and overcoming that you've seen occur. So I was wondering if you guys could elaborate on any other examples that you've seen about the communities you work with, really thriving and innovating in face of all the adversity and hardship that's been experienced over the last two years, plus.
0:44:28.9 CI: I mean bricks without straw is what we do, that's what we do is what we've been doing. I'm glad you raised the Water Warriors, they've been going around taking water all over the place, Helen Moore, been fighting for education all over the place, fighting to get her community center invested in. I can say that the city of Detroit is making a strategic investment and that community centre that she's been working in over there on the west side of Detroit. We've seen so much ingenuity, as I pointed out, around the churches that have been engaged, that have been doing the work to open their doors throughout the week for testing and vaccines, but I think the shame in all of these is, is if we don't... If we don't take the opportunity to build on that ingenuity, we've seen ingenuity, we know the stories, and we know what we've done, we know what has been done, and we know that what we say we couldn't do... We did during the pandemic, so how can we invest in a structure to build on that is what I think we got to think about going forward. Whether that's state government or whether that's the local governments, the opportunity is there to really begin to provide health equity.
0:45:45.7 CI: We just spent two years doing this around testing, so we know that we can open up in community centers, we know what we can put it in grocery stores. We know that, we know we can put it in Walmarts, we know we can put it in Black churches, we know that we can make it as most accessible as possible, and we know also that through all of what we've been able to deploy around the health equity, we know socially, we can make sure that folks have access to a Child Care Tax Credit, we know that we can say, "Alright, we can take care of you", and we've done it before, and why can't we do it again. We know that we can take money away from investing in stadiums and buildings and start investing them in people. We've done it, we did it, we did it for two years, or we did it for a year or so. Now, all of a sudden, we wanna go back to putting money in buildings. So I think it's really about taking a pandemic attitude and applying it over a post-pandemic life or pre-pandemic life, a lifestyle and understanding that some of the things...
0:46:56.7 CI: We know, Bill, you're absolutely right. I hosted about 20 folks who were formerly incarcerated who came straight out of prison, literally, straight out of prison, they worked with me for a whole summer, and they would come in straight out of prison, and many of them were still in there for things that... Now you can go to the store and buy weed, and there was in the prison for weed. What kinda mess is this, we're still dealing with that. So we know what we've done and what has been done. And so now you can no longer lie to us and say, "We can't... We've got to... We can't... " Well we've done it before, we can do it again.
0:47:45.4 BL: Yeah. And I think one of the important things to think about here is as Charles and Kat have said lots of communities, and I think in both the Black church and the Latino church have the answers, and the infrastructures and the buildings and even the trust. And then we also have lots of passion and lots of volunteers, and Charles and Kat working their 55th hour of the week to make this happen. And as you said, Mara, being creative and resilient and inventive, right and innovative in the face of disaster.
0:48:18.5 BL: But I like to remind folks like folks of color don't only want to be creative in the face of disaster. We don't only want to invent and create our arts when it's going to keep us from dying. So I think part of the answer is that we need to... If the answers are here, and the churches and the infrastructure we have in our communities, and the people are here doing the public health work then the money needs to follow. We need to find ways to fund this, fund this so that this isn't run by volunteers and support this, so that the passion is compensated as well. Right, it reminds me, I used to work with a student, a Latino student, who was undocumented, and he was an artist, and he would tell me, I love creating arts, but every time I create art, people want it to be art about being undocumented. He's like, I like doing that, but I also want to create other art too, and I think about that all the time in this type of work, like what is this innovation and creativity and passion we have in our communities? What could we pull off if we weren't using it to bring ourself up to the White norm that is receiving the government funding to happen on a everyday basis?
0:49:30.6 KS: And I would add to that. So I grew up in Detroit's Eastside, my parents have lived there. They're still there over 35 years. And one of the things that was innovative and really not innovative actually, this is this type of community work that we've always seen in cities like Detroit, right. We lost so many community pillars, folks, elders in my community that saw me when I was a kid, when I was five years old, lost, just lost because of this pandemic, but what we saw come out of that loss was the community really banding together and these folks, these aren't the advocates and activists, these are just every day folks, just trying to make a way, right, taking people down to TCF center in Detroit to get tested, to get their vaccine, making sure that folks who lost the husband or wife that they had food to eat that they were able to survive. Those are the stories that you don't see that I just find so much strength and beauty in. But at the same time, it also infuriates me that our local governments have failed to provide the adequate care and access that folks need.
0:50:49.0 KS: So I think it's important that we are seeing so much innovation happening on the ground via advocates and activists, folks who have lived in these communities their entire lives, but we also have to have a lens of accountability for these folks who have been entrusted to need these communities forward, but they have not been able to really do so in the way that people deserve and that they have been demanding, frankly, for decades.
0:51:17.3 MO: I think, I appreciate that you emphasize that, and I heard you emphasize that before their just needs or each of you emphasized that in a different way, there just needs to be, more resources need to be allocated to local institutions as opposed to being controlled by local government or philanthropies or big business, they just need to be... Without justification or elaboration, there just needs to be more resources, in the hands of local leaders and local institutions, and to that point, we've seen more discussion than we've seen in a long time on things like universal basic income, direct cash transfers for things like the child tax credit and reparations, do you think that is... How do you think about these conversations, do you think that this is a time where those things are becoming more possible or more plausible? What are your reactions to those discussions of direct cash transfers, the probability and the advocacy happening around those points.
0:52:25.5 CI: Well, I'll say that... I've been working on another survey project and talking to people about the pandemic, and one of the things that I've seen thus far which was very interesting to me is when you ask people how much... These are individuals who have been doing surveys with Detroit, when you ask them how much is their life changed since March 13th, since the stay-at-home order went into effect into present. Very interesting that you see that pre-the pandemic, up into the pandemic, and now as we go into this other known space, I don't know what it is, as many of you all know, but that there are individuals who's saying that their life, they're a large amount almost 60% of those folks in that study so far saying that their life hasn't changed much, and I think that's important because it almost suggests that I was immobilized before the pandemic, I'm immobilized during the pandemic and I'm gonna be immobilized after the pandemic. Of course, I can tell you. Yeah, I wanted to, I turned 40, 2020, and I was supposed to get it in. Okay, I was supposed to get on the plane and head to Jamaica or whatever, and I couldn't, we couldn't, it wasn't the time to do that.
0:54:00.1 CI: I can suggest that I wanted to be in person at conferences and panels, and I wanted to move around like I typically would move around around the country and such, and I could... But if you're an individual who weren't doing that before the pandemic, what does that matter to you as we open back up? And if you were an individual who didn't have no money before the pandemic, you had a little money during the pandemic, and now you don't have no money again, it almost suggests that to some degree, I've survived before I'll survive again. And so we can shame folks into trying to go back to work and shame folks into believing that they, we got to... You need to take the vaccines so you can go to work and so you can protect everybody else. I was isolated and immobilized before the pandemic, during the pandemic, and I think what people are saying, I'll be isolated, and immobilized after pandemic is over too. I think, changing that is very well, starting to lean in on some of the policies that opens up the doors to give folks access to some resources and give folks access to jobs that are really paying well enough to make folks actually wanna go to work. Now, we've got inflation, so you've got to adjust for that and you can't just give people a $15 an hour job and then everything...
0:55:40.6 CI: And then you got a gas, $5 a gallon. So we've got to make the right adjustments. Economy has the economists, I have to start thinking about what are the right adjustments, politicians and policies around how we address resources and what's available out there, what adjustments need to be made so that folks don't feel like they just have to be in an immobilized in an isolated state.
0:56:08.5 MO: Great, that's really helpful. I wanna... Bill, Kat, do you have any reactions to the conversations about, especially the universal basic income arguments or reparations arguments about both the feasibility, the plausibility, the importance, as he's become more salient, I just wanna get your thoughts on those topics.
0:56:32.2 KS: I'm smiling, because I'm trying to figure out whether I wanna be PC on this or...
0:56:38.7 BL: Me too.
0:56:38.7 KS: Or negative because I'm somewhere in a middle. [chuckle] I will say I am very encouraged to see these conversations happening that folks have been hoping for for years, for decades, but at the same time, if you look at the history of this country, whenever we have something, whether it's police violence that occurs or the fight for civil rights or in this case, the pandemic, which is disparately impacted communities of color, and you all talk to a lot of experts who have made the point of... For White Americans in particular, you see a level of support for these radicals, so-called radical ideas, but that kind of fades away over time. There was a study that came out earlier this week that basically revealed that highlighting COVID 19 racial disparities actually reduced support for safety precautions among White Americans, which is extremely concerning, so when we're talking about, what is the plausibility of seeing reparations or some of these social safety nets continuing forward.
0:57:50.0 KS: I think we have to reckon with that, right? That there are folks in this country who do not want to see these things occur. And what does that mean? Do we have the political will? Will our political leaders press for because they know this is the right thing to do, or are they more concerned about getting re-elected? And I'm just being blunt about that because I think, it's very easy to kinda have these pie in the sky, pollyannaish views like, "Oh, everything is gonna move forward in this direction." But we have so much work to do, and we're not there yet, we do not have... I feel like the level of input and buy-in, and I just wanna be clear that it is not just on people of color, communities of color, Black folks, to fix this, right? We did not create these disparities, we are fighting against these disparities, we need the buy-in from our White colleagues, our White allies, and the folks who really hold that the keys to this power. And until we really see that, go into that direction, I'm afraid we're just gonna continue to have these same conversations, I hope that wasn't too negative, but that's where I'm at right now.
0:58:55.8 MO: No. No, I think there's a lot of things I'm gonna pull apart there, but Bill, I know you have wanted to say something.
0:59:01.3 BL: Sure. Kat you took the words right out of my mouth. I was actually gonna bring up that same Social Science and Medicine study. So if you asked me earlier in the week, I would have been a little more optimistic, and just to emphasize again what Kat said, this study shows that emphasizing the racially disparate impact of COVID 19. When White people were more aware of that racially disparate impact, they were less likely to supporting policies to curb the spread of COVID 19, which they knew was taking a toll on communities of color. And I think for many of us in our reaction is like, "Oh, that's shocking. That's surprising. That's disheartening." And for many of us, it's also like, "What did you expect?" Right? I can tell you right now, the prison system and the deportation system are having disparate impacts on communities of color, and we see the same thing, you can point out and highlight those impacts and White communities are still not likely to support, defunding or abolishing these systems. So at times, yeah, I get the winds knocked out of me as well, but as Kat said, I do think there's...
1:00:11.0 BL: This is about not only communities of color doing the work, but about White allies and White folks in positions of power to do the work. I think it's about the next generation, including as Charles said, the kids who have had a little more time with than perhaps they want say as we were in our homes, the kids who have also been cared for by neighbors and communities and have seen an ethics of care to keep them, keep families afloat during this time, so the next generation gives me a lot of hope. But I think the last thing that we really need to reckon with, and it goes back to that finding, is that lots of people benefit when there is these racial disparities in these systems, right? The prison system helps a lot of politicians, gets them elected because they're tough on crime and gives us an awful lot of cheap labor as does the immigration system, right? And when these folks are sick and they don't have access to care and life spans are short, and they're losing voting capacity. So every year in prison reduces your life span by two years. So how many presidential elections are folks in prison not getting to participate in because of this?
1:01:16.3 BL: So these systems are very efficient in perpetuating the White structure. And I think it's also a time for us to reckon with those, both as people of color, who have to think about how do we fight against the system, it's deeply entrenched like this and profitable, and as White folks who might have to think about, What do I do when many of my peers are benefiting from these systems and this racial disparity? Sorry, Kat that was equally, if not more negative on your response.
1:01:44.1 MO: No. But I like that we're going down this road. And I will say, as a political scientist, a lot of my own work has focused on political framing around racialized issues. And so some of my own work has emphasized that, Hillary Clinton started doing more outreach to Latino communities, her support among her White liberal supporters actually declined and shifted towards Trump. So we know this is true in a range of issues that when we highlight outreach to minoritized communities or the impact that something is happening, a lot of White people feel the sense of status threat, and as a result, there's been a lot of push to frame things in a more palatable way, up to White audiences with the goal of getting the policies that may be beneficial to non-White communities. And that presents this tension because on the one hand, you're like, "Okay, we just want this outcome, we just want this policy, we just want these resources who the... I don't care the packaging." But on the other hand, there's a lot of fatigue around always framing things in a way that's more palatable to White folks.
1:02:50.6 BL: Yeah.
1:02:50.7 MO: And we have a... I'm gonna turn it over. I'm gonna bring this up because there was also an audience question asking about this, "please provide examples of politically friendly strategies for encouraging conversation about these topics among scholars and academic halls and also in policy spaces where there's no evidence of awareness or willingness to admit that the playing field is not level." So I think I really like where you were going, just being... I don't need you to be positive, but I just wanna do your reactions and especially, I know you guys have to think about how you're presenting things in your own work as a journalist, as an advocate, as a organizer, how do you grapple with that tension?
1:03:28.9 BL: Yeah, I can start, but I saw that question. I was like, oh, I wonder if this is the panel to put together politically friendly strategies here. You raised a lot of good points. So my grandfather came from Mexico and actually went from Texas to Michigan. He worked in Michigan, and he lost his right arm in an automobile plant when he was working, so I always knew my grandfather without an arm, with just the prosthetic. And I say this because I think he gave a significant and very literal part of his body to labour as an immigrant, and I think for many folks, there are parts of these arguments that we will not make, and there are political packagings that we will not do. So I do not argue for racial justice because immigrant or Latinos are hard workers. I don't wanna pay for my equality with my health and with my body or my grandfather's literal body. So these are arguments I don't make, and I don't care how politically savvy they are. That being said, I do understand the utility of having politically savvy arguments at times, and I think that sometimes speaks to the need for more collaboration. Some folks can make some arguments and some folks need other folks to make arguments for them.
1:04:38.1 BL: And I see this a lot in the policing work that I do as well, there are people who cannot package police violence in any way that's politically palatable because to them, it's a system of outright racial violence and disparity more so than coded. We remember George Floyd had COVID, but was ultimately killed by police. And this is not going to be a packaging that people use, and I think as advocates, it's always something that I am... That we wrestle with what is the limits of having to target things to folks outside of our communities, and as you say, a lot of target folks who target our messages to White folks who may not have the same life and death pressure to... Excuse me, to push these policies across.
1:05:21.7 MO: Kat, Charles.
1:05:23.3 KS: This is a tough question for me because I'm all about just being frank and honest with folks, and I just... At this point, you have to have your head in the sand to not really see these disparities in, to recognize them as truth. And for me, it's all about working or writing my stories, for folks who are trying to understand. I will say as a journalist, it is incredibly difficult because this is a profession that prides itself on being so called neutral and objective, which has a lot of issues within that framing itself. And being a Black woman, a Black journalist... I mean I'm a Black woman first, right? My journalism is just the profession that I chose. And there is still a lot of reluctance even within this space for folks to recognize the fact that how racism has manifested in all these systems, including journalism. Journalists are really complicit in a lot of the things that we have seen by perpetuating problematic voices, problematic stereotypes, problematic framing that could go on and on. So I think to answer that question first, I think folks really need to sit and reckon, with how has my own industry... Whether that's academia, whether you are in a non-profit sector, how have we either directly, intentionally or unintentionally contributed to these disparities that we see? Because again, can you really have those conversations to find solutions without recognizing the problem first? I don't think so.
1:07:02.8 KS: So I understand it's important to approach folks in a way that they don't feel being attacked, but look at it from the perspective of people of color in this country. We have been attacked for centuries, we have been in atrocities for centuries. So when you think about it that way, why do I have to police myself, my speech, my delivery, when my communities have been hurting for so long? Hopefully when they say it like that, folks are more like, "oh yeah, okay, it's time for me to listen." So I think folks just need to listen to what we... What folks on the ground are saying, because if you don't, I just... It's hard to even start those conversations.
1:07:47.9 CI: Well, so look. Look, I'm in the same boat with this whole friendly talk, but I do think that there are some congruences to how we can deliver the message, alright? Everybody having to know a lot of business on this, everyone of them need workers, if folks don't have... If folks aren't healthy, they can't work, alright? And you can't make sure that they can get a good wage, they're not going to work. So what do we need to do policy-wise to make sure folks are healthy and folks can get good wages. And we can get them healthy and we get them good wages, and you gotta have to think about the future of the work force. So we gotta take care of the children, we gotta take care of young people. And then there's a whole workforce that's not really working in prisons, and we gotta figure out a way to get them. So I think trying to figure out for as much if it's good, how we can rise and tide lift all boats. So how can we get folks back inside of the economy, back into the economy? Back, working, healthy, and you're not gonna be able to do anything about these politicized individuals. You want to be able to do anything about these super Trumpers or whatever you wanna call them. But people who are on the other side of the isle, who are specifically on the other side of the isle because of the economic reasons, you gotta make the economic case, and I think healthier is an economic case that helps everybody.
1:09:25.7 CI: I also think that the lobbyists, the lobbyists make the tremendous difference. I talk about politics from a realistic perspective, not necessarily from the pie in the sky. And quite honestly, the insurance, the insurance lobby don't want to have to pay for a whole bunch of COVID-19 cases. Even after the pandemic is over or after we stamp it's done, or it's endemic or whatever. So making the case and we've gotta do some things differently to make sure that we don't have to over-tax healthcare, over-tax the healthcare system, over-tax healthcare insurance, and then we can actually still make stuff in America. 'Cause right now, there's a significant challenge for employers to actually get people to work. They're literally talking about figuring out ways to bust people to work in all types of... So that being the case, utilizing the reason for health equity, the reason for social safety net access, the reason for making sure that wages are good, making sure that folks can go to a home at night, because you need people to go to work. And so the folks who are spending all this money and these lobbyists on the right wing and a left wing, they need to understand that, so that they can make sure they push the policies they matter to people.
1:11:03.0 MO: Thanks. That's a lot to take in. So I appreciate you guys offering so many different comments and different aspects of that topic. I wanna go back to this first question that was shared by some of our audience members, and it's a really broad question, but I think it's one that comes up a lot, especially on university campuses. But it's asking about the steps that you guys believe individuals should be taking to appropriately address issues such as racial disparities, health and economic justice. If you have someone who's perhaps new to engaging with these topics or thinking about these issues, is there something that you would suggest that they begin to do to equalize opportunities? I'm sure that's not the first time you've heard people ask questions like that, so how do you... I know there's so many layers of things that need to be done, so what comes to your mind or what's the advice that you could offer to students or other individuals asking themselves that question?
1:12:11.2 BL: Sure, I can start, Mara. One thing is certainly to begin reading, so do a lot of reading, do a lot of Googling. And look for the background on the policies and the history of what you're looking for. If you look through the history of much of our country, you're going to see some influence of our original founding, right? There is racist history in our country, and you'll discover it. So I think that's like educating oneself is an important piece of it. And the second piece, I generally like to point out is that everything that catches the public's attention has kind of already... When it comes to racial disparities, reached this point in where it's atrocious, but it's all set in place by something that happens before systems that are in place, and what the research calls the slow violence, right? So every police shooting was set in place by decades of, for example, stop and frisk, every immigration home raid was set in place by lack of driver's licenses. And sometimes these otherwise boring policies which don't catch the public's attention. Similarly, COVID deaths are set in place by poor work regulations.
1:13:20.2 BL: To my point, by lack of... As Kat said earlier, access to water and affordable housing. So every time you see something bubble up to the surface and the media, think of all the policies before that led to it, and think about how you can dismantle those policies as well. COVID will go away one day, what are the other systems in place that still remain, that still result in health equity, health inequity that aren't as visible?
1:13:47.9 CI: I would also like to add to that. I pastor, a church in the city of Detroit. I live in the city of Detroit. I research in the city of Detroit, I live in the city of Detroit. I do advocacy work in the city of Detroit, I live in the city of Detroit. I talk to Detroiters, I am a Detroiter. I'm not suggesting that your experience is solely rooted on where you lay your head at night, but I would suggest this, if you wanna know what the problems are and you wanna know how you can address it, all you gotta do is talk to people. The people who go through this stuff, they know what the issues are, we could read it right now. I mean, they know, they read, Kat. They read and they understand what it's going on. You might overshadow or look over them and think that the people we supposedly talking about in this panel, don't know what their own issues are. They know what their issues are.
1:14:48.0 CI: And so you really wanna know, and you really wanna get engaged, get into space where you are doing something to help, but doing something also to learn while you're helping. And I think that's one of the biggest things that I have observed that a doc student here, UofM for a couple of years now, and MSW... Finished my MSW here. And it's cool and I'm glad. I'm glad to be here. I don't want to suggest any otherwise. But one of the things I would suggest, I observe quite a bit, it's folks who wanna do this work from the outside, and there... I do realize there needs to be a certain amount of academic distance, I get that qualitative, quantitative, historic or whatever, but if you wanna know, you gotta be interested and you gotta actually be immersed in some sense. In my opinion.
1:15:41.2 KS: I just wanna offer quick remarks because I think they both have said, what I was going to say, which is one of course reckoning with the history, understanding the history, learning the history and being able to critically apply, how does that apply to what we are experiencing today? I think is key to, first, having some level of understanding what's going on. Two, looking around yourself, your circle, and really trying to digest who are the folks that I have around me? You say, you wanna learn more about this, to Reverend Williams point, are you rooting yourself in these communities to really learn about what they have experienced, to learn what their perspectives are? And again, it's not just about the trauma that we experience is about the joy to those earlier point, the joy that these communities have, that deserves to be amplified and reflected to. Because I do unfortunately think that there is often just this perpetual perspective of suffering and pain, and we don't see enough attention being paid to the work of folks like Reverend Williams and so many others who are uplifting, providing safe spaces and places for people to gather.
1:16:48.5 KS: So I just agree with doing that research and really trying to root yourself out of these communities. Look, I give that advice all the time specifically to my mentees, young journalists who wants to report on these types of things. It's the same thing if you're trying to go into the field of non-profit or philanthropy, are you really in these spaces to point or are you working from the outside? That's just not going to work. So just being intentional about the actions that you're taking, supporting the work that's already happening. You don't have to necessarily reinvent the wheel, it's about how are you supporting the folks that have been doing this work, and how do you assist them and amplify their work without coming into those spaces and co-opting the work in the message that they already have in place?
1:17:37.7 MO: Those are really great points and a great point to end on. So, I just wanna thank you each again, Dr. Lopez and Stafford, Reverend Williams. We really appreciate you spending this morning with us and for all your comments and thoughts based on your rich experience doing this work. I wanna share some information about the next couple events. On Friday May 6th, we'll be having a conversation between Dr. Cameron Webb and Dr. Luke Schafer of poverty solution. The title of that talk is two years later reflecting on the national response to COVID 19's racial disparities. Our final event of the series is on Friday June 10th and features Dr. Khaldun in conversation with the Center for Racial Justice Director Dr. Celeste Watkins Hayes. The title of that talk is lessons learned, Michigan's Coronavirus Task Force on racial disparities. So thank you everyone who joined us this morning we really appreciate your time and we hope to see you at the next two events. Thank you guys.