Sunday, 12 April 2020

Ocasio-Cortez On Coronavirus: ‘Environmental Racism’ Is A ‘Pre-Existing Condition’

Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY) claimed in an interview last week about the coronavirus that “environmental racism” was a “pre-existing condition.”
Ocasio-Cortez made the remarks while claiming that racism was to blame for the outbreak being more severe in Democrat-controlled cities like New York City.
“Inequality, environmental racism, these are pre-existing conditions, and when you have a pandemic – similar to what we saw with Hurricane Maria – when you have a natural disaster or an event like a pandemic hit communities that have already been ravaged by weakened health care systems, weakened infrastructure,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “The South Bronx has one of the highest childhood asthma rates in the country. When we talk about environmental racism, we’re talking about illegal dumping, we’re talking about concentrating waste sites, and concentrating highways and trucking zones through the poorest communities in the country and the blackest communities, [in] the brownest communities.”
WATCH:
.@AOC on the Coronavirus: "Environmental racism" is a "pre-existing condition" in NYC.

"When you have the Cross-Bronx Expressway, which was a notorious project of racism by Robert Moses ... Black and brown workers [have become] overwhelmingly part of this front line."
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TRANSCRIPT:

Inequality, environmental racism, these are pre-existing conditions, and when you have a pandemic – similar to what we saw with Hurricane Maria – when you have a natural disaster or an event like a pandemic hit communities that have already been ravaged by weakened healthcare systems, weakened infrastructure.
The South Bronx has one of the highest childhood asthma rates in the country. When we talk about environmental racism, we’re talking about illegal dumping, we’re talking about concentrating waste sites, and concentrating highways and trucking zones through the poorest communities in the country, and the blackest communities, [in] the brownest communities.
And so we already have an issue of extreme and acute concentration of respiratory illnesses in the Bronx, um, that is largely due to the trucking that comes through here, through the environmental inequalities that come through here, and so when you have the Cross Bronx Expressway, which was a notorious project of racism by Robert Moses – the way that he tried to concentrate and push these communities and design these communities through – when you have the toll of health inequities and on top of that, these are our frontline workers, where you see our frontline workers living are where you see, are the same places where you are seeing COVID cases spiking.
Black and brown workers are overwhelmingly part of this frontline. They are the grocery store workers, they are the delivery workers, they are hospital workers, including janitorial staff, and so when you have this pandemic layer on top of it, when you pair that to the unequal access to care, when you pair that with ratios of hospital beds far lower than more affluent communities, this is what you get.
And so when it comes to the city’s response it’s, you know, I believe that the city is doing absolutely everything that it can, but we also have to acknowledge that there are two entirely different starting lines that these communities are starting with, and so we’ve been working very hard, but also, when we don’t push for things like rent and more – full rent and mortgage moratoriums, you push these workers to go outside because they feel a pressure to make their rent and they may go out and take work, they may take work under the table in order to make ends meet.
And so without this economic relief, it also adds to the public health issues that we currently face.

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