Nearly a dozen African American pastors from Philadelphia to Los Angeles issued a "moral appeal" to the Trump administration over the "alarming number of deaths" in black communities from Covid-19.
Testing, treatment, and protective gear must be equally distributed and readily available to black and poor communities, and to essential wage workers, healthcare workers, prisons, and shelters, the pastors said at a virtual news conference Wednesday.
"Black and brown people are being tested the least but dying the most," said Rev. Dr. Frederick Douglass Haynes III, a pastor in Dallas. "We appeal to federal and state leadership to prioritize healing humanity over restarting the economy."
Rev. Traci Blackmon, who pastors a church in St. Louis, became emotional as she spoke about the suffering she is seeing among her congregants.
"I pastor a small congregation where approximately 80 people gather on a Sunday, and out of those 80, five of those have tested positive for Covid-19. I have two funerals to do this week of people who died," Blackmon said.
Three of those five had to go to the hospital three times before they were given a test, Blackmon said.
Early data from some areas show African Americans make up a higher percentage of Covid-19 victims. In Chicago, 62% of the people who have died from Covid-19 are black, though they make up 30% of the population, according to data from the city. In Louisiana, 32% of the population is African American, but that population represents about 59% of coronavirus deaths in the state.
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