Poverty, Hunger, Racial Inequality Supersized Amid Coronavirus


Before the coronavirus outbreak, food insecurity was already a serious problem in the United States. In 2018, 1 in 9 residents were food insecure—that’s 37 million people, including 11 million children. Poverty already hindered the well-being of 38.1 million U.S. residents, including 16% of the nation’s children. The nearly 2.3 million people in U.S. prisons and jails were already at higher risk of chronic and infectious disease, and had lower life expectancies. Racial inequality was already a devastating and seemingly intractable problem.

Enter COVD-19. The virus is not only causing illness and death for hundreds of thousands of people, but it is also shutting down businesses and furloughing employees, closing schools, and stopping travel. As a result of the virus, alongside economic upheaval, all of the structural inequalities existing in the United States have been highlighted and amplified:

What does all this mean for humanists?

It means the humanist values of reason, compassion, equality, and hope are needed more than ever. It means that we have to do whatever we can for those who are in jeopardy during these perilous times.

It means that Foundation Beyond Belief is shifting its operations to focus on mitigating the impacts of COVID-19 for as long as is appropriate.

Please consider a gift to support people impacted by COVID-19 as you’re able. FBB is working with our beneficiaries, Ghana staff, BBN teams, and other partners to evaluate where humanist dollars are most needed and will use and distribute funds where they can do the most good.

Not all of us are in a position to give money right now. There are other ways you can contribute! Some of us may not be able to share our time either. Part of our responsibility as humanists is to be attendant to our own needs, and the needs of those close to us, because many of us are in jeopardy now, too. For ways to care for your community and yourself, see our resource on Mutual Aid Groups.

We have a lot of work to do: for our neighbors, for our world, for ourselves. It’s daunting. But humanism has always risen to the hardest challenges. Let’s do some good together in the face of this one.

Red donate button***

To learn more about how COVID-19 affects vulnerable communities, check out these articles—and watch for future blog posts on these issues:

Food Insecurity

Income Insecurity and Worker Rights


Racial Inequality

Mass Incarceration/ICE detention


Domestic Violence