Religious leaders unveil $150M plan to vaccinate Black, Latino churchgoers across US

A $150 million plan to vaccinate 106 million African American and Latino churchgoers across the country against COVID-19 was unveiled Tuesday at Mount Zion Baptist Church in D.C.

Rev. Anthony Evans, president of the National Black Church Initiative, said his coalition of 150,000 African American churches across the U.S., along with Latino community partners, aims to work with public health systems across the nation to get the most vulnerable people in those communities vaccinated.

“Please let us save the lives of our own people,” Evans said.

He added that getting members of the Black and Latino communities vaccinated in settings that fit into their “life, community, and cultural habits” is a key component of the group’s plan.
Another is outreach and education tailored specifically for the African American community.

“We can get this job done. We do not need to be treated as stepchildren when we have the capabilities of doing so,” Evans said.

He added that 3,500 Black and Latino doctors are ready to be a part of the coalition’s plan, which calls for 2.5 million volunteers to “hit the streets in every city in America to make sure” that homeless people, senior citizens, disabled people, people who are illiterate and people taking care of those who have compromised immune systems are vaccinated.

The effort “will be the largest, faith-based mobilization of African American and Latino Protestant denominations in the country to achieve a single health goal,” according to a National Black Church Initiative news release.

The coalition stated, “African Americans account for 1.4x the number of COVID-19 cases, 3.7x the number of hospitalizations, and 2.8x the number of COVID-19 deaths as white people. Those numbers are 1.7x, 4.1x, and 2.8x for Latinos.

“Both communities are being devastated by this virus,” the statement said.

Evans said he hopes to meet with The National Governors Association and the Biden administration in the next 90 days, with a goal of working together.

“Mr. President, we helped you. It is time for you to provide the resources for our community to help us,” Evans said.

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Matt Small

Matt joined WTOP News at the start of 2020, after contributing to Washington’s top news outlet as an Associated Press journalist for nearly 18 years.

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