Last week, members of the Free Clinic Board and staff had the opportunity to both present at and attend the virtual Equity Amid Crisis conference. Alongside partners from the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce, Juvenile Welfare Board, City of St. Petersburg, Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg, Tampa Bay Rays/Rowdies and many more organizations and companies, we talked about how we can collectively address racial inequity and build a thriving community free from bias and discrimination.
By nature of our work, the Free Clinic is daily engaged in addressing challenges that are exacerbated for our black neighbors in need because of systemic racial inequity:
According to a pre-COVID-19 study by the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg:
21% of black individuals as compared to 12% of white individuals in Pinellas County reported not eating when hungry because of financial concerns.
21% of our black or African-American neighbors as compared to 13% of white people reported not visiting a doctor in the last 12 months because of cost.
Nearly 10% of black individuals reported concerns about stable housing vs. just 7% of white individuals reporting the same concern.
Since the onset of the pandemic and its resulting economic impact, all of these challenges and concerns have now worsened, more so for black people and other people of color who have also been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.
While we work toward the fulfillment of our mission by addressing the symptoms of inequity through our programs, we are also committed to addressing the structure of inequity in how we operate, as well as how we advocate, so that may contribute to the systemic shifts required to eliminate discrimination in our community.
We will keep you informed on our work toward this ambitious, but necessary, goal and look forward to working alongside you to ensure we are affecting meaningful change.
Black lives matter, today and always, at the Free Clinic.