COVID-19 cases are surging in Michigan, but there are many options to receive a vaccine, and many are taking steps to comfort and educate people about them.
One is The Impact Network, the largest 100% privately owned African American inspirational TV network, which recently announced a partnership with the city of Detroit, the Detroit Health Department, and Great Faith Ministries International to host a community COVID-19 vaccination drive.
There is also a community education effort about the vaccines alongside it, with support from the founders of the Impact TV Network and Senior Pastors of Great Faith Ministries' Bishop Wayne T. Jackson and Dr. Beverly Y. Jackson.
The program began on March 20, 2021 and is set to run for a total of eight weeks as recipients return for their second dose.
“A lot of the African American community had been rooted in a lot of distrust when it came to communications and media and questioned whether or not they wanted to get the vaccine,” writer, producer, and director Royal Jackson tells Metro Times.
Because of overwhelming acts of social injustice, Jackson says many questioned whether they could trust the health care system if they can’t trust other pillars of society.
“We stepped in to provide information so people can make their own decision in regard to the vaccine,” Jackson says.
Besides providing vaccinations, the event will also serve as the backdrop for Impact Network’s docuseries pilot episode of Covid in Color, which examines the response to the pandemic within communities of color. The series will "[explore] the pandemic from a cultural lens and the pivotal role that faith-based partnerships play in the recovery of the community," according to a press release.
“COVID-19 may be a physical virus but it’s also a social ill that’s going to plague Black communities and communities of color moving forward,” Jackson says. “Covid in Color was birthed out of what that looks like and what the recovery looks like.”
Before the Covid In Color series came about, The Impact Network created the Overcome Covid initiative, which coincides with Mayor Mike Duggan’s recent announcement of expanded vaccine availability and the city’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic amid increasing cases.
Although the vaccine event is halfway over and many have already returned for their second dose, the efforts still continue as Impact Network develops the docuseries.
Along with the docuseries, Impact Network has also created the Communities of Color Covid 19 National Communications Program.
“This is a program where we are looking to aggregate all of the different fragmented movements that are going on in other parts of the country, like Al Sharpton’s Choose Healthy Life, and amplify them by curating their messages and re-communicating them back out to the audience through Impact Network,” Jackson says.
The first chapter of the series will be released this spring on The Impact Network and online. Future episodes "will explore the social, emotional, physical, and economic aspects of the pandemic on communities of color, specifically the African-American community."
Stay on top of Detroit news and views. Sign up for our weekly issue newsletter delivered each Wednesday.