| From Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib:
Across the United States and the world, the pandemic has worsened and exposed pre-existing racial disparities. Now, the same people who’ve been disproportionately harmed by the pandemic are being left behind in accessing vaccinations, including our Black neighbors and Palestinians.
While the U.S. government is overseeing an unequal vaccine rollout within our own borders, it’s also enabling Israel’s massive inequity: Despite drawing international praise for the world’s fastest vaccine rollout, the Israeli government is violating human rights law by refusing to purchase or distribute vaccines for Palestinians under its control.
As a Palestinian-American myself, I fear for my grandmother, my sity, who’s being left without just by virtue of being Palestinian. And as someone born and raised in Detroit, our nation’s largest majority-Black city, I’m seeing firsthand how my Black neighbors face huge disparity in vaccine access… which has led to our white neighbors getting vaccinated at twice the rate of our Black neighbors.
We can’t let these harmful inequities continue. That’s why I’m joining advocacy organizations to call on our Secretary of State and governors across the country to do better.
Sign now to call on U.S. governors and U.S. Secretary of State Blinken: From communities here at home to Palestine, every human being deserves to live and thrive with dignity. We need equitable vaccine distribution now!
For long before the pandemic, the Palestinian people and our Black neighbors have had a common experience of being dehumanized and treated like second-class citizens by their own governments.
The Israeli government’s policies against Palestinians have drawn comparisons to the United States’ Jim Crow-era racist segregation laws, as well as today's systemic targeting of Black people by the American criminal legal system.
As the occupying power for more than 50 years, Israel has not only a moral responsibility to protect Palestinians from the virus, but also a legal responsibility under the Geneva Conventions, the bedrock of international humanitarian law.
While the Israeli government has vaccinated so much of its population that it’s donating extra vaccines to faraway countries, nearly all of the 5 million Palestinians under occupation have yet to receive a vaccine—despite living mere feet away. Israel has only recently pledged to provide a few thousand vaccines, far short of meeting the need.
Through financial and military aid and encouragement, the United States is enabling Israel’s medical apartheid. The U.S. must hold Israel accountable to international human rights, including using our aid money as leverage, to ensure Israel provides not only vaccines but a complete vaccination program for all Palestinians subject to their occupation.
And within our own borders, the United States government is also overseeing an inequitable vaccine rollout.
Long neglected by our government, Black people in America have borne the brunt of the COVID pandemic’s health and economic crises. Black Americans are three times more likely than white Americans to be hospitalized and twice as likely to die from COVID-19 than white Americans. However, white Americans have been getting vaccinated at twice the rate of Black Americans.
This is largely due to disparities in access, since polls have shown that the majority of Black people in the U.S. plan to get the vaccine (as compared to the majority of white Republicans, who do not plan to get it).
Here are just some of the racial disparities in vaccine access:
At the state level, governors must address these racial disparities and ensure swift distribution to the most vulnerable and hardest-hit communities. State systems must also take care in implementation to avoid exploitation—for example, a California program meant to increase vaccine availability for Black residents ended up getting misused by wealthy white residents.
- Black Americans are less likely to have reliable internet access for the mostly-online signup process.
- Black Americans are less likely to have access to reliable transportation to predominately drive-through vaccine centers.
- Black Americans are more likely to live farther from vaccine centers than white Americans do.
- Black Americans are also disproportionately working in frontline essential positions, where employees may not have flexible schedules or the ability to take time off to get a vaccine.
We cannot tolerate these egregious, racist injustices and inequities any longer—neither for Palestinians nor Black Americans.
Please add your name now to affirm that Palestinians and Black folks deserve dignity and the ability to live and thrive just like anyone else.
Rep. Rashida Tlaib
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