State Rep. La Shawn K. Ford is teaming up with Grammy Award nominee Twista and Creative Salon to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in the black community
They are kicking off the “Mask up and Live Campaign” to educate African Americans on the deadly impact of the coronavirus, which has killed more than 1,000 people in Illinois, and supply residents with masks.
Ford, Twista and black men on the West Side aim to send a strong message to Chicago’s African American community to mask up, stay home and practice social distancing to save lives.
This is especially important since blacks in Chicago represent over 70 percent of COVID-19 deaths, although African Americans make up just a third of the city’s population.
“The black community is having issues getting supplies,” Ford said in a statement. “I am already seeing businesses posting signs that say they are not allowing people in their stores without face masks.
“Black men are taking charge to ensure we are taking care of our communities. We intend to get masks out to those that don’t have access to them in the black communities. We are coming together to do the right thing and save lives.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends using cloth face coverings to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Some parts of the country – such as New York – are requiring residents to wear face coverings when social distancing is not possible, including when using mass transit, shopping in stores or walking on crowded sidewalks.
Ford said the group has received donations of masks and funding to purchase more masks for West Side residents.
The campaign is launching a website, www.MASKUPANDLIVE.org, and encouraging African Americans in Chicago to participate in a social media challenge by uploading selfies showing off their masks and using #maskupandlive as well as hashtags representing their neighborhoods and corresponding zip codes.
The goal is to create a steady buzz of uploaded pictures making it trendy, cool and commonplace to wear masks with the goal of decreasing COVID-19 cases among African Americans.
The campaign is the brainchild of Rascal By Design’s Caliph Rasul, Beyond Care’s Carlos Meyers and United NFC’s Walid Johnson – all African American men directly impacted by COVID-19.
The website will also provide information on where to obtain masks online or locally, either free or at cost.
For more information or to support the campaig’s goal to give away 1 million masks nationally, email firstname.lastname@example.org.