The head of the Greater Washington Urban League said the organization strongly supports D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s decision to extend the District’s shelter-in-place policy to June 8 amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic
George Lambert Jr., GWUL president/CEO, said D.C. is facing an unprecedented public health emergency that shows no signs of decline.
“The mayor’s decision is a prudent and a measured approach that reflects her desire to keep District of Columbia residents safe,” Lambert said in a statement. “[The coronavirus] has devastated the nation’s capital and the rest of the country. Based on the District’s most recent data, 6,584 residents have tested positive and 350 people have died. This tragedy touches us all and I offer my sympathy to the families of those who have died.”
Lambert said that while the pandemic affects everyone, D.C. residents can ill afford to overlook the obvious that African Americans and Latino communities are disproportionately represented.
“African Americans have tested positive at a higher rate and died at a higher rate. Tragically, they represent 80% of the deaths but 46% of the population,” he said. “We are all hurting, those who gotten sick, the families of those who have died and those essential workers who are forced to choose between going to work and safeguarding their health. It is not an easy choice.”
Lambert also expressed concern for those fearful of not being able to step back from the economic abyss.
“We also are deeply concerned about the dangers facing first responders, law enforcement, medical personnel and hospital staff and essential employees,” he said. “Until we have more certainty that the pandemic has peaked and has plateaued, the smart thing to do is to proceed with an abundance of caution.”