The NAACP has partnered with BET for a virtual four-part town hall series on coronavirus in the African-American community.
The series titled Unmasked: A COVID-19 Virtual Town Hall Series will focus on the health, emotional, and economic toll of the virus, as well as the congressional response and how activists can apply pressure to ensure legislation is equitable.
“As the world faces unprecedented times and new realities during this global pandemic, the health and safety of people around the planet, particularly African Americans, are at an unparalleled risk,” said NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson. “The occasion to uplift and educate our community during this pivotal moment charts a pathway forward through uncertain times.”
Added BET President Scott Mills, “We’re proud to work with our long-time partner the NAACP on this important town hall series that will provide comprehensive information for African Americans that will empower and help the community move forward during these difficult times.”
Community activists, medical professionals and politicians will join the conversation. Among those taking part are House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California); House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-South Carolina); Rep. Karen Bass (D-California), who is chair of the Congressional Black Caucus; Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Mississippi); Dr. Oliver Tate Brooks, who is president of the National Medical Association; spiritual wellness coach Robert Brace; and CNN political commentator Keith Boykin.
The first part of Unmasked: A COVID-19 Virtual Town Hall Series kicks off on Wednesday, April 8, at 8 PM ET/ 5 PM PT. Viewers can participate live via an interactive toll-free conference call that will also be streamed at https://naacp.org/call-to-action-program/. To participate via phone dial (866) 757-0756.
The announcement of the series comes after local and national public health officials said African Americans are dying from novel coronavirus at higher rates than other racial groups in Louisiana, Chicago, Milwaukee County, Los Angeles County and other areas.
“We have a particularly difficult problem of exacerbation of a health disparity. We have known literally forever that diseases like diabetes, hypertension, obesity and asthma are disproportionately afflicting the minority populations, particularly the African Americans,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top expert on infectious diseases, said Tuesday.