As the nation spends the weekend commemorating civil rights and the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Chromatic Black, an organization of artist-activists, technologists, community organizers and journalists dedicated to the power of story, is taking the holiday as an opportunity to reinforce the efficacy and availability of vaccines in communities of color.
Fifty “Justice in Action” events will take place in 35 states and the District of Columbia over the weekend as a tool to “leverage the powerful and effective civic infrastructure of the African American community” to increase the convenience of getting vaccinated and to fight “truth decay,” said Angela Harmon, co-founder and president of Chromatic Black.
“The same tactics that have been used to undermine our trust in [public institutions] are the same tactics that have been used to undermine our trust in the public health care system,” Harmon said. “ Misinformation and disinformation is deadly because it animates isolation rendering communities of color powerless in the face of a global crisis.”
The “Justice in Action” initiative is an outgrowth of Chromatic Black’s “Keep Black Love Alive” story-catching efforts. Over the 72 hours of MLK Day weekend, the organization will host pop-up vaccination clinics in partnership with local public health departments, community leaders and national pharmaceutical partners in areas lacking a robust public health infrastructure. The clinics are being organized and coordinated by trusted community leaders, and their efforts will be bolstered by digital marketing, Harmon said.
The “Justice in Action” initiative will also conduct “WE in the World” Well-Being Surveys to measure community well-being. Survey data will be aggregated and distributed to community leaders to help develop a health equity plan for improvement for communities of color across the country. “The surveys also help us to identify and deploy help to people who are in need of assistance and material support,” Harmon said.
Harmon described the efforts as “a reclamation of Dr. King’s legacy,” pushing for transformative justice. “Against the backdrop of deliberate assault on the achievements of the civil/human rights movement, Dr. King’s legacy serves as an important utility in the animation of our democracy,” she said. “The events are an exercise of community care to address the gaps in the promise of health access and equity and the reality of a system that is simply broken.”