A group of black pastors and researchers called on the Trump administration Wednesday to address the disproportionate impact of the new coronavirus on minority communities.
“We have gathered as pastors, as faith leaders around this country to simply state that last week’s headlines reminded all of us that racism is a public health issue. It has long been a matter of life and death. Sadly and immorally, we live in a country where skin color is hazardous to one’s health and mortality is not determined by ones genetic code but instead by one’s Zip Code,” the Rev. Frederick Douglass Haynes III, senior pastor of the 12,000-member Friendship-West Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, said during a press conference sponsored by Repairers of the Breach based in Goldsboro, North Carolina, and the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference based in Chicago.
The headlines Haynes alluded to include ones such as recent report in The New York Times with preliminary data released by New York City which shows how the coronavirus is killing black and Latino people at twice the rate that it is killing white people. Nationwide data also reflect a similar trend.
“As pastors who serve in communities that are most impacted by the coronavirus crisis we have come together to issue a moral appeal to the conscience of the nation in a state of emergency in the tradition of the biblical prophets who address nations in crises and prophets in this nation such as … Martin Luther King Jr and many others who fought to redeem the soul of America,” Haynes said. “We appeal to those in power on behalf of communities in pain and in grief. We appeal to you to channel treatment and resources to those areas in our body politic that have suffered the most from this national infection that has allowed this virus to spread disproportionately.”
Other pastors who joined the conference were Repairers of the Breach President William J. Barber II, who also leads Greenleaf Christian Church; the Rev. Traci Blackmon, executive minister of justice and witness ministries of The United Church of Christ and senior pastor of Christ The King United Church of Christ in Florissant, Missouri; and the Rev. Dr. Leslie Callahan, the first female pastor of the 119-year-old St. Paul’s Baptist Church in Philadelphia.
“As of this moment black and brown people are being tested least but dying the most. We appeal to the federal and state leadership to prioritize healing humanity over restarting the economy. We appeal to this country to ensure that we create a vision of wellness and wholeness for our communities to repair centuries of the intentional infection of racism,” Haynes added in his address during the conference. “I conclude by remixing that drum major for justice, Martin Luther King Jr. In reminding us what the coronavirus crisis has shown us. Infection anywhere is a threat to health and wellness everywhere.”
In his discussion of the issue, Barber highlighted a letter which he said was addressed to President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Surgeon General Jerome Adams as well as the White House Coronavirus Task Force headed by Pence.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leonardo Blair