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COVID-19 and Racism: The Interconnected Pandemics that have Left Black Families the Hardest Hit

June 22, 2021 GMT

CHAPEL HILL, N.C., June 22, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- In the spirit of the first official Juneteenth national holiday, researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Boston University are shining a rare spotlight on the compounded factors that contribute to the widespread devastation and racial trauma experienced by Black families during the pandemic. The report, “BLACK PARENT VOICES: Resilience in the Face of the Two Pandemics—COVID-19 and Racism” was recently released by the Researchers Investigating Sociocultural Equity and Race Network (RISER), which is dedicated to child development and racial justice issues.

The groundbreaking study examines the historical and contemporary inequities that Black families and communities have experienced in their daily lives. It also provides a comprehensive analysis of how the pandemic is affecting Black families’ experiences with racism and discrimination, financial security, mental health, wellbeing, early care and education options.


The RISER Network is calling for a comprehensive approach in policy development and relief for Black families and communities which have been disproportionately impacted by police violence, the global coronavirus pandemic and economic crisis. The network’s research reveals how racism is an environmental construct that drives health and education disparities among children ages zero to eight years old.

“Through this research, we hope to shift mindsets about Black families’ survival and resilience amid the pandemic, despite the systems of inequities that are working against them,” said RISER Network Co-founder Iheoma U. Iruka, Ph.D. “It’s important to understand that whatever happens with Black families is also happening with all families, thus creating the impetus for a unified push for inclusive, anti-racist policies that will improve lives.”

“Black families voices and lives matter, and the stories that were brought to light in this report clearly illustrate the collective trauma and suffering they’re enduring during the current health and economic crisis,” RISER Network Co-Founder Stephanie M. Curenton, Ph.D. said. “This study will be part of a larger continuum of high-quality, scientific data around Black families that addresses the structural issues they’ve faced before and during the pandemic.”

The RISER Network’s full report explores quality of life, racial trauma and socio-economic issues in greater detail. It includes action items and first-hand accounts from Black families. The report surveyed Black parents on a weekly basis from May to December 2020, and includes data from the RAPID-EC project at the University of Oregon.


The report can be downloaded in its entirety using the link as follows from the RISER Network’s website.

About the RISER Network
The Researchers Investigating Sociocultural Equity and Race Network (RISER) is a collaboration between senior, mid-level and junior scholars working together to conduct applied child development research focused on the positive development of Black children, committed to publishing research for policymakers to help dismantle education and health disparities. The network is dedicated to promoting the academic success of children to ensure that they thrive in educational and home environments. For more information about the RISER Network, please visit the company’s website at https://www.bu-ceed.org/riser-network, and follow the RISER Network on Twitter ( @CeedBU ).

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