Statement of Sunia Zaterman on the Death of George Floyd

Date Published: 
June 4th, 2020

Sunia Zaterman, Executive Director, Council of Large Public Housing Authorities, provided the following statement in her opening remarks at the Housing Is Summit on the death of George Floyd: 

"I would like to address the events of the past week that have roiled our nation’s conscience. The death of George Floyd once again reveals this nation’s centuries old, enduring stain of racism. Our hearts are with the Floyd family and the families of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Breonna Taylor and the multitudes of black men, women and children who have paid the ultimate price for this country’s systematic and lethal racism.

We as a nation cannot move forward until we right the wrong of racial injustice. This means understanding, acknowledging, and dismantling our sanctioned systems of deep structural inequality.

With our nation facing the deadliest pandemic in more than a century, unemployment rates equal to those during the Great Depression, and now the tragic murder of George Floyd, America’s deep racial inequities have been laid bare. Black Americans are two and a half times more likely than whites to be killed by police. The latest overall COVID-19 mortality rate for Black Americans is nearly two and half times higher than the rate for White Americans. If they had died of COVID-19 at the same rate as White Americans, about 13,000 Black Americans would still be alive. COVID-19-related employment loss hit Black Americans far worse than White Americans. Black households have only 10 cents in wealth for every dollar held by white households. 30 percent of black families still live below the poverty line. 

These deep structural inequities can and must be dismantled. Our work is to build a movement with cross-sector partners in housing, health and education that rethinks how these systems can work collectively to achieve racial justice and equity. Let our collective work across sectors lead the way so we as a nation can breathe again.” 

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