Sep 28, 2020
This September, the Chicago Department of Public Health announced that even before COVID-19, life expectancy for black people was about 71 years, while for the rest of the city’s population, it was over 80 years.
The city admitted that black people die younger because of long-rooted, systemic racism. True enough. And with big fanfare, it put out some high-minded plans for “equity” to close the life-expectancy gap.
But there is one thing the City of Chicago did not commit: money.
What people need for better health is no secret: access to clinics and hospitals; affordable, healthy food; safe places to exercise and socialize; education and a future for young people so they don’t get sucked into drugs and gang violence. There is plenty of money in society to do all of this.
But instead, on top of the pandemic, we’ve seen mass layoffs with thousands losing their insurance. A major hospital and two clinics that serve black neighborhoods in Chicago are slated for closure. Whatever the city government says, in this capitalist system in crisis, we can expect more attacks, which always fall hardest on the black population.
To reverse this situation, we will have to take the money to pay for what we need. We will have to take it back from the capitalists who have stolen it from our labor and from the public budgets. And no city government can do that for us.