There is a saying that when America catches a cold the black community catches pneumonia. 2020 brought our community something much worse . . . Covid 19. Everywhere I look I can see the effects that the pandemic has taken on the black community. Black people in Nevada continue to face higher rates of infections, job losses, housing instability, food insecurity, economic hardships, and overall pandemic fatigue. Nevada continues to be one of the states hit hardest in the nation. Our tourism-based economy is dependent upon our trade shows, conventions, and visitors that have been halted due to the virus. Vaccination efforts are now underway throughout the state and infection rates are finally coming down. Capacity restrictions are being lifted and the state of Nevada should be receiving $4.1 billion from the American Rescue Plan Act recently signed into law by President Biden. Still, until the rest of the nation returns, I want to encourage all Nevadans to do their part by social distancing, wearing a mask, and getting vaccinated.
The difficulties faced over the past year during the pandemic also provided us with a unique gift. The gift of radically reimagining our lives, our communities, our priorities, and how we do things. Now that the state is beginning the process of loosening restrictions, we must Build Black Better. It is more important than ever that each of us accepts the responsibility to care for and protect the people in our communities. We must accept that no one is coming to save us and everything we need to save ourselves is already in our communities. We need only the willingness to have a sense of shared sacrifice to save ourselves, our businesses, our nonprofits, our churches, and our organizations. It is going to take all of us working together.
I recognize that there is more than one black community in Nevada. I look forward to working alongside our black immigrant and African American communities to identify the specific needs of all of them. I believe that our voices need to be heard in spaces where conversations are being had about education, criminal justice reform, healthcare, senior issues, work force development, transportation, infrastructure, and small business development. This should also include ensuring that members of our community have representation on boards and commission at the local, municipal, and state level where many of these decisions are being made. Together I know that we can build black better and create a modern-day Black Wall Street right here in Nevada.