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Oakland’s Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church Receives Grant to Increase Immunity in Communities of Color

Conference of National Black Churches selects Mount Zion M.B.C., Oakland, CA., Pastor Michael W. Wallace, Senior Pastor, to participate in the CNBC’s and CVS “The Black Church Mobilizing African Americans to Reduce Vaccine Hesitancy project” as one of six churches in six cities across the nation.

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Cross on Top of a Church; Photo courtesy of Akira Hojo via Unsplash

Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson, Chairman (Photo Courtesy CNBC)

Mrs. Jacqueline L. Burton, President (Photo Courtesy CNBC)

Pastor Michael W. Wallace, Mount Zion (Photo Courtesy MZMBC)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Atlanta, Ga

Conference of National Black Churches (CNBC) Chairman Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson joins President Jacqueline L. Burton in conveying their appreciation for Pastor Michael W. Wallace and the historic Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church of Oakland, California, for their willingness to participate in CNBC’s “The Black Church Mobilizing African Americans to Reduce Vaccine Hesitancy project.”

The announcement was made last week in Atlanta, Ga.

As a part of this program, Mount Zion has been selected as a grantee for the CVS, Direct Relief Increasing Immunity in Communities of Color Grants program.   CVS, Direct Relief has identified six cities in the nation and is partnering with CNBC to provide funding to their affiliated churches in those cities to support immunization efforts.

Funding will support existing, expanded, and new efforts related to COVID-19 testing/immunization and flu immunizations among Black and other racial and ethnic minority groups and education.

Pastor Wallace stated “ We are honored to be a recipient of this national grant and the partner with our national leaders Chairman Dr. W. Franklyn  Richardson and President Burton of the CNBC in conjunction with CVS in this tremendous nationwide effort to reach the most vulnerable and marginalized Black and Brown communities. As a congregation on the forefront in addressing the myriad of social issues plaguing our community including health disparities this opportunity will have a real measurable impact that is desperately needed.”

Mount Zion has been on a very purposeful mission of addressing social justice, public policy, public safety, criminal justice reform, gun violence, housing, health inequities and employment opportunities for people of Color.

Wallace further stated, “It is opportunities like this that help keep our mission of meeting the needs of our community who continually look to us for leadership, resources and support. This award and partnership will make a huge difference. The CNBC leadership and CVS are heroes for the Community, making sure that vital services and much needed resources are continually being made available”.

Mount Zion has recently hosted two vaccination clinics since the Delta variant began ravaging the unvaccinated to ensure the vaccine is more accessible to the community. Mount Zion has committed to hosting vaccine clinics every two weeks with the next clinic scheduled for September 11. “It is imperative that we continue to consistently make the vaccines available because the infection rate is soaring among the young people in our zip codes” said Wallace.

Mount Zion will be hosting virtual gatherings to address the hesitancy among Black People and doing a documentary addressing the Rationalization of The Hesitancy among Black People. “…Because education and the right information is critical for people to make informed decisions,” said Wallace.

Representing More Than 80% of African American Christians – 30,000 Congregations and 20,000,000 people nationwide, the CNBC comprises the national leadership of the eight largest historically Black denominations in America with a focus on four key areas: social justice/public policy, criminal justice reform, health (including supporting hunger initiatives) and education, especially the advancement of academic excellence for children in marginalized communities.

Its mission is to speak with a unified voice of Black religious bodies that seeks to improve the quality of life for African Americans as they seek to reach their full potential in American society.

This program recognize that Partnerships between local churches and health centers and free and charitable clinics that were developed or expanded through efforts related to COVID-19 and flu vaccination education can assist in building trust and education on the importance of receiving both COVID-19 and flu vaccines.

CVS Health is a diversified health services company with nearly 300,000 employees united around a common purpose of helping people on their path to better health. In an increasingly connected and digital world, they are meeting people wherever they are and changing health care to meet their needs.

For more information regarding upcoming clinics and forums please call Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church at 510-893-2932.

The Oakland Post’s coverage of local news in Alameda County is supported by the Ethnic Media Sustainability Initiative, a program created by California Black Media and Ethnic Media Services to support community newspapers across California.

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East Oakland Community Clean-up

The office of Councilmember Treva Reid invites you to…

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Oakland Clean Up Flyer

The Oakland Post’s coverage of local news in Alameda County is supported by the Ethnic Media Sustainability Initiative, a program created by California Black Media and Ethnic Media Services to support community newspapers across California.

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Sept. 11, 2001, 20 years later: ‘Remembrance’ held aboard the USS Hornet Sea, Space & Air Museum

The USS Hornet Sea, Space & Air Museum, moored at the City of Alameda, hosted a “Remembrance” ceremony of the events of Sept. 11, 2001, on board the ship on the 20th anniversary, Sept. 11, 2021.

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U.S. Marine Corps Honor Guard, 23rd Marine Regiment: Sgt. Tristan Garivay, Sgt. Michael Her, Cpl. Adrian Chavez and Cpl. Quentavious Leeks. Photo by Russell Moore, USS Hornet Sea, Air & Space Museum, Community Events & Outreach

Quintin Jones, Colonel, USMC, Commanding Officer, 23rd Marine Regiment. Photo by Russell Moore, USS Hornet Sea, Air & Space Museum, Community Events & Outreach

The USS Hornet Sea, Space & Air Museum, moored at the City of Alameda, hosted a “Remembrance” ceremony of the events of Sept. 11, 2001, on board the ship on the 20th anniversary, Sept. 11, 2021.

The ceremony recognized the impact and consequences of the series of airline hijackings and suicide attacks committed on 2001 by 19 militants associated with the Islamic extremist group al-Queda against targets in New York City and Wash., D.C. Nearly 3,000 people died that day and 6,000 were injured.  This was the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil in U.S. history. 

The ceremony aboard the USS Hornet began with the presentation of the colors by the U.S. Marine Corps Honor Guard, 23rd Marine Regiment. (Pictured above.)

Leon Watkins, co-founder of The Walking Ghosts of Black History, was the Master of Ceremonies. He spoke about the extensive death and destruction which triggered the enormous U.S. effort to combat terrorism.

Daniel Costin, a special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, spoke of the lasting impact of 9/11 terrorists attack on first responders. He recounted incidents where first responders rushed into the scenes of the attacks, many at the sacrifice of their own lives. More than 400 police officers and firefighters were killed that day: 343 members of the New York City Fire Department and 71 members of their law enforcement agencies.

Quintin Jones, Colonel, USMC, commanding officer of the 23rd Marine Regiment, spoke about the recovery efforts at the Pentagon following the terrorists’ attack where 125 people perished. He reflected on the actions of three first responders who recovered the U.S. Marine Corps flag from the commandant of the Marine Corps’ office at the Pentagon. This flag was still standing after the attack. It was a symbol of America’s resolve.

At the end of the formal presentations, the Marine Corps Wreath Bearers went to the fantail of the Hornet. After the playing of ‘Taps,’ they tossed a wreath into the San Francisco Bay to give final honors.

The Oakland Post’s coverage of local news in Alameda County is supported by the Ethnic Media Sustainability Initiative, a program created by California Black Media and Ethnic Media Services to support community newspapers across California.

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Community

Many in Black Communities are Choosing Vaccination 

Inequities in health outcomes have always been with us. COVID-19 morbidity and mortality rates among African Americans rival or exceed those in heart disease, diabetes and other illnesses. Blacks sit atop most bad lists and at the bottom of most good lists. 

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Vaccination/Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock

The trail of illness and death left amid the spread of COVID-19 in Black and African American communities should come as no surprise.

Inequities in health outcomes have always been with us. COVID-19 morbidity and mortality rates among African Americans rival or exceed those in heart disease, diabetes and other illnesses. Blacks sit atop most bad lists and at the bottom of most good lists.

COVID-19 vaccinations offer us an opportunity to better balance the scale.

Unfortunately, even with widely available testing, highly effective vaccines, and extraordinary efforts by health departments to educate and encourage people of color to get vaccinated, many Black Californians remain skeptical.

We can only hope that the FDA’s full regulatory approval of the Pfizer vaccine on August 23 for those 16 and up convinces more to get the vaccine.  It’s worth noting that emergency-use authorization also remains in place for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson shots, as well as Pfizer’s for 12- to 15-year-olds – and that all of these vaccines are safe and effective in protecting against COVID-19 and its highly contagious variants.

Eddie Fairchild and Steph Sanders were skeptical about the COVID-19 vaccine but came to understand why vaccination benefits our entire community.

Fairchild, a Sacramento insurance agent, said he knew of research that found Black and white people are often treated differently for the same health conditions leading to poorer health outcomes.

“I was hesitant,” he said. “I was going to wait and see how it panned out with everyone else.

But when a Black friend in the health care field told him he’d opted to get vaccinated, Fairchild asked him why.

“He said, ‘Risk-reward, and the risk is death.’ At that point I didn’t have to ask him what the reward was.”

With a finance degree and a belief that numbers don’t lie, Fairchild looked at the data. He learned that until 2020 the average number of Americans who died each year was about 2.6 million, but in 2020 that figure was 3.4 million. There was only one possible explanation for the death rate surge, he said.

“COVID is absolutely real,” he said, adding that three of his cousins died from the virus. “Taking all that into consideration, I decided that it’s risky to engage in the world and not be vaccinated. It made sense for me to get it.”

Racial gaps in vaccination have thankfully narrowed in recent weeks. But as of September 1, while Black people account for 6% of the state’s population, they account for 6.6% of COVID-19 deaths, which is 11% higher than the statewide rate, according to state department of public health data. Only about 55% of Black people in California have had at least one dose of the vaccine.

Reasons for the discrepancies run the gamut, from conspiracy theories like Black people are getting a less effective vaccine than whites or that the vaccine will eventually be deadly, to challenges in health care access. 

Mostly, it’s based on a lack of trust in medical and scientific institutions, which have a long history of racism and mistreating Black people.

So even when it comes to good things like vaccines, which are scientifically proven to be good for the community, it always comes back to trust.

Sanders, a Vallejo school principal, was hesitant because of the Tuskegee syphilis studies in which Black men who had the disease were intentionally not treated with penicillin. And he was dubious that an effective vaccine could be developed so quickly. 

In fact, the science and technology enabling development of the COVID-19 vaccines was in development for a more than decade before the virus emerged in 2020. The FDA authorized three vaccines for emergency use after they underwent a rigorous process and were proven through trials to be safe and effective at preventing severe COVID-19, hospitalization, and death.

He decided to get vaccinated when his school board decided last spring to bring students back into classrooms.

Today, he’s a fervent vaccine advocate. He holds “lunch and learn” forums for educators, encouraging vaccination.

“I’m a leader and people are relying on my knowledge,” he said. “I tell them, ‘Don’t make this about you, but about the people you love and care about. It’s about protecting them.’”

There is still a long way to go before Blacks achieve true health equity, but vaccination against a virus that is taking a terrible toll on our communities is a critical step in the right direction.

 

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