BLACK FAMILY SUMMIT LAUNCHES EMERGENCY RESPONSE TO CORONAVIRUS

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[Black Family Summit Emergency Response Initiative]
The Black Family Summit is comprised of twenty-nine socially-conscious Black professional and advocacy groups, including organizations that focus on the holistic health and welfare of Black families and communities.
Photo: IBW

Institute of the Black World President Dr. Ron Daniels and the Black Family Summit have announced an initiative to tackle COVID-19.

Dr. Ron Daniels, President of the Institute of the Black World 21st Century (IBW) announced today that the Black Family Summit, which the organization convenes, has launched a multifaceted emergency Initiative to address the impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic on African Americans and people of African descent in the U.S.

Convened by Leonard Dunston, President Emeritus of the National Association of Black Social Workers and IBW Board Member, the Black Family Summit is comprised of twenty-nine socially-conscious Black professional and advocacy groups, including organizations that focus on the holistic health and welfare of Black families and communities, e.g., the All Healers Mental Health Alliance, Black Psychiatrists of America, Association of Black Psychologists, Inc., National Association of Black Social Workers, Black Administrators in Child Welfare, National Medical Association, Community Healing Network, Nigerian Social Workers of America and the National Black Nurses Association, These “healing” organizations are in the forefront of the Emergency Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic as it relates to the impact on Black families and communities.

Alarmed by the disbelief and apathy among some in the Black community about the validity and seriousness of the Coronavirus Pandemic, the All Healers Mental Health Alliance, an affiliate of BFS, which is Convened by Dr. Annelle Primm, recently discussed this issue on its bi-weekly conference call. As a result, it was recommended that IBW convene an emergency phone meeting of BFS Organizations to develop strategies to counter myths and disinformation about the Pandemic. For example, false information has spread on social media that Black people are immune from the Coronavirus because of a “melanin exemption.” And, there have been rumors that the danger of the Pandemic is being overblown as a scheme to control Black people.

To immediately address these urgent concerns the Co-Chairpersons of the FEMA/BFS Emergency Management Task Force Yusef Muhammad, former President of the International Association of Black Professional Fire Fighters and Dr. Lucy Perez, former President of the National Medical Association, have assembled a Task Team to develop culturally appropriate and effective messages with accurate medical information and facts about the Coronavirus Pandemic and its impact on Black families and communities. The first Fact Sheet has already been developed and is being circulated as an evolving document to be updated as new information and facts emerge about the Pandemic. The National Medical Association, Meharry College and several other organizations have volunteered to contribute to the evolving Fact Sheet.

A Black Media Task Team has been formed, headed by Rev. Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, President/CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association and Rev. Mark Thompson, Host of the Make It Plain Podcast and a longtime social justice activist, to assemble experts and messengers who will deliver the message via print, electronic and social media platforms that the Coronavirus Pandemic is REAL and will disproportionally impact Black families and communities. BFS organizations are submitting the names of representatives with expertise on infectious diseases and healthcare disparities for Black people to Dr. Chavis and Rev. Thompson so that a pool of Black-oriented expert voices will be available for interviews on Black and mainstream media. Dr. Leon McDougle, President-Elect, National Medical Association, Dr. Patricia Newton, CEO/Medical Director, Black Psychiatrists of America and Dr. Martha Dawson, President, National Association of Black Nurses are the first representatives who have agreed to be credible messengers for this Initiative. It is anticipated that many more will follow in short order.

The Emergency Response Initiative is rapidly achieving results. At Dr. Chavis’ request, the NNPA has established a National Coronavirus Resource Center on its digital platform Black America Press.com, and Dr. Chavis has generously agreed to create a dedicated space for articles and essays from IBW/BFS on the NNPA platform. IBW has also established a space for Coronavirus articles and information on its website at www.ibw21.org – which will be linked to the NNPA Resource Center. Webinars to disseminate accurate information about the Coronavirus Pandemic are being convened almost daily by organizations affiliated with BFS. And, some seventy-five or more representatives of organizations participated in the most recent Emergency Phone Meeting Convened by BFS. There was great eagerness to contribute to making this Initiative successful.

In commenting on the success of the Emergency Response Initiative, Leonard Dunston, Convener of BFS said, “the outpouring of support for this effort has been simply amazing. It’s in the best tradition of Black folks responding to the needs of our people in times of crisis. It is also clear that there is a deep yearning for sharing and healing at a time when people feel isolated from each other. So, in addition to convening sessions to develop strategies to address the Pandemic, we also plan to convene regular healing sessions to bond and bind our people together as we collectively struggle to get beyond this crisis.”

For further information on the Black Family Summit Emergency Response Initiative contact IBW at: info@ibw21.org or call 718.429.1415.

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