Connect with us

African American News & Issues

Black Health and Spiritual Leaders Weigh in on Opening Schools and Churches




Dr. Geoffrey Watson of the James A. Watson Wellness Center has hosted a TV show called “Health Beat,” since 1994, meant to educate the African American community three times a week.

Last Sunday, Dr. Watson interviewed Acts Full Gospel Bishop Bob Jackson regarding health and spiritual challenges the African American community is currently facing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Coronavirus in every aspect is stressing people out, which leads to poor relationships, domestic violence, and job loss.” Says Dr. Watson.  “On my show last Sunday, with Bishop Jackson, we discussed a major dysfunction that is occurring within our community regarding serving our community, and that is the disconnect between physical and spiritual healing for our people.”

Jackson added, “My visit with Dr. Watson, who is par excellence in giving information regarding COVID-19 and new testing in his clinic, made me realize that we need to treat the whole person.  We must encompass what God defines as the whole man, the spiritual, physical and mental.  If you don’t include the spiritual you’re not treating the whole man.”

During the TV show, Watson and Jackson agreed to a mutual partnership. “One of the reasons Oakland Frontline Healers (OFH) has experienced such resounding success in its brief five months is that it is a collaborative of health entitles and nonprofits that have addressed the psychological, social-economic, and physical well-being of Oakland residents, addressing every aspect of community need from violence prevention, medical testing, human trafficking abatement, food, shelter and providing protective gear,”  Watson said. 

OFH’s good work did not go unnoticed, recently receiving $500,000 from Oakland City Council to expand and continue their work.

Watson and Jackson agreed that a rapid test, the procedure of a simple finger stick, might be the answer for opening up the community sooner than later, however, both were skeptical of the city and country allowing students to return to school or enter into places of worship in the near future.

According to Dr. Watson, “Schools should not open anytime soon.  Even before COVID-19, we were aware that children bring their illnesses home.  We have to come up with a better system before we consider opening schools back up.”

Jackson expressed similar concerns regarding returning to church services, “We prepared our church to reopen following Alameda County health department guidelines.  We even purchased a machine that sprays the place down and kills COVID-19 in the air. We also purchased four temperature gauges to read the temperature for our parishioners as they enter.  In addition, we’re seeking funding to purchase Dr. Watson’s [rapid] test for our members as they enter the church and get what we call a ‘green light for God.’ If they test negative, they will be able to enter and worship, if they test positive, we send them home and implement contact tracing.  However, right now, it appears people will not be allowed to worship until a vaccine is discovered.”

Noting that Black and Brown communities are being impacted with reports that people of color are dying at a higher rate, Bishop Jackson feels new leadership is also necessary in order to save communities of color, especially District 6 and 7, and intends to run for Councilman Larry Reid’s District 7 seat in November.  

This week Dr. Watson was informed by Foundation Laboratories that anyone without insurance can be tested for free because of the Cares Act.  Dr. Watson invites concerned residents to get tested at the James A. Watson Wellness Center located at 5709 Market Street 94608.

Correction update: This article was updated July 27 with a correction for Acts Full Gospel Bishop Bob Jackson’s name. The previously published version had the name Bishop Bob Johnson, the correct name spelling is Bishop Bob Jackson.


Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *