As the world continues to adjust to changes and trying times presented by COVID-19, economic shutdowns, and more, one organization is stepping up to fight for the Black community and those underrepresented.
Rainbow PUSH Coalition (RPC), founded by the Reverend Jesse Jackson, Sr. in 1996, was created then to fight for progressive social change. PUSH, an acronym standing for People United to Serve Humanity, today, functions as RPC and is fighting to aid churches, Black-owned businesses, and the entire Black community during the coronavirus pandemic.
Since the quarantine, RPC has been building a network and infrastructure to support its cause and those in need. On April 15, 2020, in partnership with the National Medical Association and the National Bar Association, the organization published a joint statement on the response to the pandemic. The public health manifesto as they call it, details a 12-step program addressing actions and strategies to reduce the possible irreparable harm caused by COVID-19.
The program or the joint public health strategy, includes prevention such as social distancing, virtual meet-ups, clear communication, and up-to-date messaging between organizations and their members. Data from healthcare workers, CDC, and more were gathered to maintain accuracy. Screening and access to testing and proper and adequate tools to undergo diagnostic testing was mainly focused on those at-risk.
Other steps include addressing the lack of Black and Brown healthcare professionals, removing the fee and costs to testing and care once diagnosed, and protection of vulnerable persons, including those in mental institutions and physical disabilities. Also, protection for those incarcerated, which includes depopulating jails and removing those with non-violent charges and providing everyone with proper face masks, gloves and sanitizing products.
The manifesto breaks down nearly every avenue of resistance. Although the government has sent much help, bias and miscommunication remain rampant throughout, which is what the RPC is working to resolve.
From there, they have worked with community leaders, churches, legislators, and more to provide information and speak directly to those in need. Putting their feet on the ground, RPC is working diligently to make sure resources are properly understood, allocated, and used to best benefit the community.
Other efforts include written letters to the president and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in support with understanding, obtaining and utilizing the SBA Loan and their own Paycheck Protection Portal (PPP) which helps connect businesses, churches, independent contractors, and non-profits to lenders.
Thursday, April 23, 2020, RPC hosted a call which featured Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Rev. Jesse Jackson, and several other church leaders and small-business owners. There, they gathered information and answered questions to benefit for those in need. The in-depth conversation provided much comfort, as callers’ anxieties lowered and the more confident and empowered exchanges in strong support of RPC’s agenda.
To learn more about Rainbow PUSH Coalition’s efforts to fight COVID-19 and support Black communities and more, visit https://rainbowpush.org/coronavirus.