WASHINGTON—AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins released the following statement today in response to states beginning to answer concerns over racial injustice, law enforcement practices, and disparities:
“We commend lawmakers in Iowa, New York, and Colorado who, within the past week, passed bipartisan reforms to address inequities and disparities that have prevented African Americans and other people of color from feeling safe in their own communities.
“As older Americans, many of our 38 million members remember the struggle to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the painful events of 1968, the likes of which we had hoped we would never see again. Yet, in recent years, the movement for racial justice has gained renewed momentum. Just as TV cameras captured the cruel, inhumane treatment of African Americans and other nonviolent protesters in the 1960s, cell phone recordings today are forcing every American to see for themselves the brutal, unjustifiable, and often deadly treatment of African Americans. Our belief that Black Lives Matter motivates our continued work to fight discrimination, racial inequities, and health, financial and other disparities. The pandemic is a clear reminder of disparities’ toll: African Americans are nearly three times as likely to be hospitalized and shoulder a disproportionate number of deaths – accounting for 13% of the population, but 23% of all COVID-19 deaths in the U.S.
“At this critical moment for our nation, AARP commends the bipartisan strides that states and localities are making to address racial injustices and disparities. Lawmakers in these three states have also demonstrated that we can rise above partisan politics.
“It is critical that leaders from both parties at all levels of government continue to work together to advance racial justice, healing and new progress for our country toward full equality. The time is now.”
AARP’s work to address racial injustice and disparities spans federal and state legislative advocacy, legal advocacy, programs, services and more.
AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation's largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.
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