This week's topic comes from the first reading, Acts 6:1-7, which we have historically tied to the ministry of deacons. The growing community experiences economic injustice as the Hellenist widows get less than the Hebrew widows. In response, the community restructures to appoint people in charge of the distribution of food so that it will be fair. In our time, the pandemic has highlighted the economic injustice in our own society, as the poor are dying of COVID-19 in far greater numbers than are the wealthy or the middle class.
The video explains this and draws on some facts that have been in the news lately. Below the video are links to current news stories that highlight this economic injustice and its lethal consequences for the poor and can give you facts that you can use in your preaching.
Here are some current stories that highlight the injustices that the pandemic amplifies:
“A lot of them have either lost their job altogether or risk contracting COVID-19 to put food on the table,” one economist said. “They can’t have both job security and health security at the same time.”
An article about how wealth can buffer some from the pandemic. This private island is the wealthiest zip code in the country, and bought tests for everyone on the island and its own contact tracing for those who test positive. While many other struggle to find testing and wait in line, they bought their way to the front.
This article is full of statistics about the relative percentage of coronavirus cases for different demographics in the same area, Chicago. Here are some:
"Of the coronavirus cases where a patient’s race and ethnicity was reported, 31% are white, 29% are black and 30% are Latino, according to the state health department. About a quarter of the state’s nearly 53,000 cases do not list the patient’s race or ethnicity. By way of comparison, whites account for 60% of the state’s population, Latinos make up 17%, and African Americans account for 14%. About 2,400 Illinoisans have died from COVID-19, 40% of whom were white, 35% were black and 14% were Latino."
"In Chicago, more than 70 percent of the deaths related to the coronavirus were among black residents, though black residents make up only a third of the city’s population. In Michigan, black residents make up just 14 percent of the population, but over 40 percent of the Covid-19 deaths."
"While black residents make up about 29% of Chicago's population, a whopping 72% of the city's residents who have died from COVID-19 so far are black. And according to the public health commissioner, 52% of those testing positive are black. Health disparities and access to care play a key role. Many essential workers holding down jobs like driving buses, childcare or in grocery stores are black. As the pandemic continues to take a toll on health and economics, there are calls for addressing underlying racial inequities."