Statement from Michael Lawson, President & CEO of Los Angeles Urban League

Earlier this month the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) suspended equal opportunity protections for companies contracting with the federal government in response to coronavirus relief efforts.

The DOL’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, said in a memo that contractors responding to Covid-19 relief efforts will not have to include clauses in their contracts requiring them to take affirmative steps to prevent discrimination in hiring and employment.

This order should be reversed immediately. These anti-bias protections were put in place to ensure equal opportunity and access to government contracts regardless of race. Black and Latino businesses and workers are likely to be hardest hit during this crisis. Minority businesses need more protections in this moment, not less.

How we respond in times of crisis can define our national character for generations. Now is not the time to abandon our values as a nation. We are in this together, and together we can find better solutions.