Now that everyday life has nearly come to a standstill due to the corona pandemic, many people are seeing problems that otherwise aren't always as visible.
Both the NRC and Nieuwsuur have devoted their attention to what they call "the uncomfortable truth" this past week. It's about the fact that the poorest people now suffer the most and that these are mostly non-white people. The truth is that your financial situation and your place in society, along with a migration background, are often related to issues such as discrimination, exclusion, racism and Islamophobia.
We often point from the Netherlands to the United States when it comes to the relationship between poverty and skincolour or background, despite this is unfortunately being very similar here. The corona-measures have taken a hit the people who live on the edge of the poverty line or are even below it. Food banks, for example, have too few volunteers and a shortage of food. Disastrous for the people who depend on food packages to feed themselves or their families.
Nowhere else in the Netherlands is this reality felt more strongly than in Rotterdam, where almost 11% of the inhabitants - more than 65,000 people - live in long-term poverty. Especially groups such as children, pensioners and people who live on benefits are the victims of this situation. The measures hit people in the poorest neighborhoods the hardest. These are often people of colour.
Because of the great poverty in Rotterdam, many of these people live in small and poorly maintained homes. Not a place people should be crammed into for weeks. They are often people with professions for which they get paid a minimum wage, while often doing what is vital to society. In addition, these are often jobs that entail many risks during this outbreak.
It also affects families where children live, who don't have laptops and/or with parents who can help them with the homework sent by schools. Neighborhoods where the local community centers are now closed, where social workers and counselors can now only assist people remotely because of the situation, so that people in vulnerable positions are under enormous pressure and literally can't go anywhere.
The problems that are now surfacing aren't new and were already very visible to us. Combating racism and poverty are therefore some of the main parts of our manifest. Combating these major problems within Rotterdam will therefore also form the basis of our election program soon to come.
In any case, let's make sure we support each other where possible! Do you have questions or comments, do you want to share your story or do you need help? You can reach us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.