New York COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force Launches Information Initiative to Educate Black, Brown Communities

Roll Up Your Sleeves New York, The COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit for Black Communities:
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Photos: NYGOV\YouTube

Today, the New York Task Force for Vaccine Equity and Education launched Roll Up Your Sleeves New York, The COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit for Black Communities: A toolkit that equips Black communities with outreach and educational materials to combat the COVID-19 virus.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on communities of color. Nationwide, Black people are dying at a rate 2.5-3x higher than other groups.

Because COVID-19 has most severely impacted Black and brown communities throughout New York City and across the nation, it is in these communities where information and outreach must be concentrated and shared with urgency. Information sharing can stamp out misinformation and fear that often pervades overlooked and underserved communities, hindering access to adequate health care.

“Overcoming #COVID19 vaccine skepticism doesn’t happen overnight. The Roll Up Your Sleeves Toolkit is packed with the resources for community leaders, clergy and anyone civically engaged to dispel rumors and garner vaccine trust in Black and brown communities. We are working to address years of distrust and we can need all hands on deck to get our community to herd immunity.” said Marc Morial, President and CEO of National Urban League and Co-Chair of the New York COVID Vaccine Task Force for Vaccine Equity and Education.

“We started this task force in New York to ensure the vaccine is readily accessible to Black New Yorkers and address concerns in Black communities about the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine. Recently, I took group of clergy leaders to get vaccinated and dispel fears in my community. Now with the Roll Up Your Sleeves toolkit, we can distribute accurate and accessible information to help demystify the COVID-19 vaccine.” said Rev Al Sharpton, President of National Action Network and Co-Chair of the New York COVID Vaccine Task Force for Vaccine Equity and Education.

“The COVID-19 pandemic revealed the realities of healthcare deserts in communities of color and the dangers of misinformation. Black and brown communities suffered tremendously due to a lack of medical access, lack of accurate information and greater exposure to the virus because of their occupation or crowded living conditions. With the Roll Up Your Sleeves toolkit, we hope to dispel some of the myths about the vaccine, gain community trust and help save lives.” said Senator Nina Turner, Founder of Amare Public Affairs and Co-Chair of the New York COVID Vaccine Task Force for Vaccine Equity and Education.

"It is not a new phenomenon that systemic and overt racism practiced in healthcare, government, and all aspects of civic life have made Black and brown communities most susceptible to COVID-19, and now skeptical of the vaccine. But now, as the vaccine is rolled out, it is up to us to rewrite our own history. We need to do the work, and that starts with information sharing,” said Jennifer Jones Austin, CEO and Executive Director of FPWA.

The toolkit is available for download at rollupyoursleevesny.org. The website also currently hosts multi-lingual social media messaging created by New York City. Throughout the month of March, additional educational resources will be added.

The task force led by Marc Morial of the National Urban League, Rev. Al Sharpton of the National Action Network, and Sen. Nina Turner partnered with FPWA to develop the toolkit based on the organization’s experience organizing Black communities during the 2020 Census.

This fact-based outreach and education program will be followed by an effort to identify, with specificity, safe and easy to reach locations for Black New Yorkers to receive the vaccine.

You can learn more about the task force here.

Task Force Members include:

(1) Karen Boykin-Towns, Vice Chairman, NAACP Board of Directors

(2) Kyle Bragg, President, SEIU 32BJ

(3) Steve M. Cohen, Former Secretary to Gov. Andrew Cuomo

(4) Hazel Dukes, President, NAACP New York State Conference

(5) Dr. Debra Furr-Holden, Epidemiologist, Michigan State University

(6) Jennifer Jones Austin, CEO and Executive Director, FPWA

(7) Camille Joseph-Goldman, Group Vice President for Government Affairs, Charter Communications

(8) Melva Miller, CEO, Association for a Better New York (ABNY)

(9) Marc Morial, President and CEO, National Urban League

(10) Arva Rice, President and CEO, New York Urban League

(11) Dr. Wayne J. Riley, President, SUNY Downstate Medical Center

(12) Rev. Al Sharpton, CEO and Founder, National Action Network (NAN)

(13) Senator Nina Turner, Founder, Amare Public Affairs

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