CHOOSE HEALTHY LIFE
The Black community has been hit particularly hard by the pandemic. COVID-19 is killing Black people at substantially higher rates than any other population in America. According to the CDC, Black individuals are hospitalized from COVID-19 at a rate 5 times that of non-Hispanic whites and are dying at a rate as much as 7 times higher. Increased testing, expansive vaccination, access to community health resources and popular education are essential to stopping the spread in Black communities that have been devastated by the pandemic.
The Choose Healthy Life Black Clergy Action Plan (CHL) is a response to the disproportionate impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Black community. CHL is an initiative to fortify community infrastructure in order to address the COVID pandemic in the Black community, strengthen local networks, increase long-term community resilience and save lives. CHL leverages the power of the Black church – the most trusted and respected organization in the Black community – to expand access to COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, vaccines and other health services in underserved communities.
Given the long history of discrimination, exclusion and violence perpetrated against the Black community by the medical establishment, there is widespread distrust of testing and vaccines. In fact, only 25% of Black people report plans to get vaccinated against the disease, compared to 58% of Whites.
To address the pandemic in the Black community, to ensure that our communities are protected from getting the disease in the first place, get the care they need when they do get sick, and have the wherewithal to withstand future public health emergencies both acute and chronic, the response to the COVID-19 crisis must be directed by the Black community’s most trusted leaders.
CHL fosters partnerships between Black churches and local United Way affiliates to conduct a massive public health campaign across five cities – New York, Washington, DC, Newark, Atlanta and Detroit. Community leaders will tap into existing networks within local congregations and deep into the Black community to disseminate accurate information about COVID testing and vaccines, provide access to testing and vaccines, and connect community members to ongoing services and support and to each other.
Together we will save lives, heal our community, and fortify ourselves, our faith and community institutions for the future.