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Responding to the COVID-19 Crisis: Closing the Racial Wealth Gap in the Shadow of the Pandemic

Join Sarah Rosen Wartell, president of the Urban Institute, for the next installment in Urban’s conversation series, Evidence to Action. During this virtual event, Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) will discuss his efforts to close the racial wealth gap through federal legislation. Following that, Kilolo Kijakazi, Institute fellow at the Urban Institute, and Darrick Hamilton, executive director of the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at the Ohio State University, will join Wartell to address how the racial wealth gap has exacerbated the harms of the pandemic, how the pandemic may be exacerbating the wealth gap, and how tools like baby bonds can help reduce racial inequities.

For generations, racist policies and practices have both deprived many people of color, particularly Black and Indigenous Americans, of opportunities to accumulate wealth and stripped them of any wealth they acquire. Consequently, these families frequently lack the wealth that would grant them access to stable housing and quality education, as well as allow them to invest in their futures and weather health and economic crises like the COVID-19 pandemic.

As part of Urban’s Next50 last year, Kijakazi and colleagues noted that disruptive forces over the next fifty years could further widen today’s equity gaps. This thesis has been tested far too soon. Our guests will discuss what the evidence says about the pandemic’s effects on the racial wealth gap and what we can do to prevent the current crisis from exacerbating the inequities caused by systemic racism.

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  • Cory Booker, Senator, New Jersey
  • Kilolo Kijakazi, Institute Fellow, Urban Institute
  • Darrick Hamilton, Executive Director, Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, and Professor, John Glenn College of Public Affairs, Ohio State University
  • Sarah Rosen Wartell, President, Urban Institute (moderator)

The Evidence to Action conversation series elevates the voices of leaders and changemakers responding to, recovering from, and building resilience during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. The Urban Institute was built for this moment. We answer tough questions with unbiased, rigorous research and evidence-based solutions. For 50 years, we have studied what it takes to strengthen social safety net programs, dismantle structural racism, protect workers and families, and build community resilience. Using advanced analytics, data science, technology, and decades of expertise, we equip changemakers with the facts and insights they need to accelerate solutions.


Until further notice, all Urban Institute events will be online.
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Send any inquiries regarding this event to [email protected].


Date & Time Wednesday, August 12, 2020

  • President