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The convergence of justice, health and economics during COVID-19

Featured as the 2021 Wilder School Symposium, “Racial Equity, COVID and Public Policy: The Triple Pandemic” focused on the many impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on racial and social equity.

The discussion served as a prelude to a new book of the same name, to be released in the coming year by Routledge Publishing. Edited by Elsie Harper-Anderson, Jay Albanese and Susan Gooden, many Wilder School faculty lend their voices as authors.

These are some notable quotes from the symposium.

The triple pandemic… is something that’s going to affect us, that does affect us, on a regular basis. And it’s not going to be handed down from one generation to the other. If we are to survive, the time now is to deal with it, and to deal with it in a realistic manner and to discuss it.

Gov. L. Douglas Wilder, distinguished professor and 66th governor of Virginia

Almost all of the participants in the eviction diversion program were able to stay in their homes. At the same time, many of the underlying causes of housing instability — things like unaffordable rent, people paying 30% or 50% or more of their income toward rent, job quality, child care costs and transportation — effectively remain in place.

Ben Teresa, assistant professor and co-director of the RVA Eviction Lab

The triple pandemic references three specific areas: health, economics and justice. The book will not simply document the existing problems made worse by the pandemic, but it also provides historical context to the issues that manifest in new ways the existing inequities revealed during COVID-19. The volume is distinguished in its focus on the implications for racial equity through an examination of both existing public policy, as well as, of course, new ideas for change.

Susan Gooden, dean of the Wilder School

Racial equity is extremely important. But, unfortunately, it continues to be mostly, if not completely, ignored in emergency management. So, despite decades of research that has shown time and time again that disasters of all sorts have a disproportionate impact on African Americans and other minority communities, racial equity is not a core tenet of emergency management at all.

Hans Louis-Charles, an assistant professor of homeland security and emergency preparedness

Over 85% of all people who serve time in prison will be released into the general population. This means we cannot prison our way out of the crime problem.

Christina Mancini, associate professor, criminal justice graduate coordinator 

The implications of the impacts of the coronavirus on Black workers and businesses are far-reaching. ...It will be critical going forward that the programming and policies are race specific and directly impact the system of racial inequality upon which the pandemic issues were layered over.

Elsie Harper-Anderson, associate professor and Ph.D. program director 

Spring 2022 / In this issue