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older black woman 021021State Senators Jacqueline Collins and Robert Peters joined several nonprofit groups and Illinois AARP at a press conference today highlighting the results of a recent study showing vast disparities in access to health care and other services which are leaving elders in communities of color worse off.

"It is critical that we address the longstanding inequities that exist in older communities of color across our state. As a senator and member of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus, I have long championed policy solutions to end the inequities faced by our older Illinoisans of color, and continue to do so today through a robust social justice agenda spearheaded by the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus," said Collins (D-Chicago). "With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the devastating effects of the pandemic on older adults in particular, the need to focus on these older communities of color is paramount."

 

Among Illinois AARP's study's key findings were that racial economic disparities accumulate the lives of people of color as a result of racial disparities in education opportunities and attainment, employment rates, wages and resulting personal income; that economic insecurity among minorities can be seen in poverty rates among older adults; that compared to white Americans, Black Americans are three times more likely to live in poverty, Latinos 1.7 times more likely, and Asian American/Pacific Islanders 1.2 times as likely; and that over the age of 80, poverty rates for minorities increase even more significantly.

 

Peters said the COVID-19 crisis has been exacerbated by the other systemic barriers that older people who are members of minority communities already face.

"It is has never been more urgent to address the disparities facing our older adults of color throughout the state. We are in the midst of three crises: A public health crisis, an economic crisis, and a crisis in terms of systemic racism," said Peters (D-Chicago). "These crises aren't new. These crises are highlighting who gets safety, security and support. I stand with these community-based nonprofits as they launch this important report that highlights the data behind the disparities faced by our communities of color."

The press conference was live streamed over Facebook. Click here to watch.