HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) – When speaking of systemic racism, often people immediately point to law enforcement and the judicial system.
This week, WAVY-TV 10’s Courageous Conversation series takes on something that’s not focused on as much, but has a distinct effect on communities and the country as a whole: hunger.
Dr. Ruth Jones Nichols, president and CEO of the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore, was candid and heartfelt as she talked about disproportionate impacts of hunger and food insecurity long before the pandemic, which are on full display in recent weeks.
You’ve probably seen Nichols any number of times on WAVY News 10 or in the community at various events beating the drum to rid our communities of hunger. But rarely does she get to peel back the layers of the issues the foodbank seeks to address like she is during Courageous Conversations.
“I remember when I started my position 4 1/2 years ago, someone asked me if they could pray for me,” said Nichols. “I said ‘Absolutely’ and they then said ‘Well what should I pray for?’ and I paused and I said ‘Courage.’ Hunger and food insecurity are consequences of systemic issues that we haven’t started to talk about as an organization or a community. African Americans and other people of color are being hit even harder because of the pandemic, so for some communities in our service area, we’re seeing a spike, not only in food insecurity rates for African Americans, but also a spike in unemployment rates which are directly related to why people are struggling to put food on the table.”