In the last two months, the COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the social and economic inequities shouldered by people of color and workers making low wages. Combating this public health threat and mitigating the economic fallout will require coordination among neighboring states and bolstering of public services. Given the South’s history of poor, limited worker protections and structural racism carried out by a host of discriminatory policies and practices, equitable and targeted access to these public resources must be a priority.
Today, policy organizations, grassroots movements and scholars are offering a shared vision for the region’s COVID-19 response.
We have agreed to work together on a shared approach to make policymakers and stakeholders aware of and accountable for the social and economic inequities exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic—one that is based on respect, dignity, equity, and justice.
While each of us launches our own efforts to promote actionable responses to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have agreed to the following principles as we affirm our Southern values:
COVID-19 does not adhere to local, state, or national boundaries. Communities must work together with government for a full picture of what’s happening on the ground and what improvements are needed. We understand the need for close coordination and collaboration to ensure that the response to COVID-19 is equitable, accountable, and transparent.