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Community Perspectives on COVID-19 Recovery: A Report on 2021 Community Conversations

March 21, 2022

As Chicago works to come back from the pandemic, years of disinvestment and structural racism have made economic recovery harder for some communities than others. To have a truly equitable recovery, it's important to understand the on-going impact the pandemic has had on Black and Latinx communities hit hard by job loss, sickness, and death. In collaboration with The Chicago Community Trust and We Rise Together: For an Equitable and Just Recovery, New America Chicago commissioned a report from BECOME to learn more about how these communities were recovering and what is still needed from local and federal policymakers for these communities to not just recover but thrive.We Rise Together is a coalition of corporate and philanthropic funders working with the community to accelerate equitable economic recovery in the Chicago region. Housed at The Chicago Community Trust, We Rise Together is increasing employment opportunities for Black and Latinx workers, strengthening businesses of color, and spurring investment in disinvested neighborhoods. Because We Rise Together is committed to grounding the initiative's efforts in the lived experiences of Chicago's most marginalized communities, the decision was made to host Community Conversations across Chicago neighborhoods that have been hardest hit by the pandemic.  A team from BECOME worked with New America Chicago, The Trust, and We Rise Together to plan seven Community Conversations in collaboration with nonprofits from each neighborhood. Participants had strong recommendations for support and resources to help their neighborhoods recover economically from the pandemic. Consistently, across all neighborhoods, we heard that people struggled and continue to struggle economically and emotionally as a result of the pandemic. Still, most found unexpected positives in the midst of the pandemic.