WILMINGTON, Del. – In case you missed it, today on Juneteenth, U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Delaware State Representative Melissa Minor-Brown (D-New Castle) published an op-ed in the News Journal highlighting the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color and calling on our nation to address systemic racism.

The News Journal: Let’s honor Juneteenth by finally taking on systemic racism

By U.S. Sen. Chris Coons and State Rep. Melissa Minor-Brown

Over the past month, millions of Americans have spoken out and marched in protest over the brutal killing of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer. In every state across our nation, Americans have joined together to not only demand an end to police brutality against Black and Brown Americans, but to finally address systemic racism.

Today is Juneteenth, our nation’s annual day to mark and celebrate the end of slavery, but this year, we’re more conscious than ever that slavery’s legacy remains imprinted in our culture and our laws. This year, we’re reminded that racial discrimination and injustice still exist and still impact the lives of people of color in real and discernible ways.

We believe that our country is ready to finally address systemic racism, so policing is far from the only issue that we need to take on. We need to take bold action in Washington and Dover to improve police accountability and transparency, but we also have to open our eyes to the ways that structural racism and discrimination touch many issues we face.

Look no further than the economic and public health crises our country is still in the midst of. While no one has been spared the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is increasingly clear that the pandemic’s significant health and economic impacts are disproportionately affecting communities of color. 

Let’s be clear: the virus doesn’t discriminate against people of color. Instead, the pandemic has simply shone a light on just how much discriminatory public policies have done to put communities of color at greater risk and weaken critical safety net programs for all Americans.  

The full column is available here.