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Clergy urge stronger response for minority communities by elected officials

Stronger response for minority communities needed according to leaders
Posted at 3:51 PM, Apr 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-13 15:51:10-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — In the area being hardest hit by COVID-19, no clear response has been given by any elected official on a course of action.

Both Mayor Byron Brown and Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz have said they’re in communication with faith-based leaders to develop a plan.

“We are trusted in the community people look to us for spiritual guidance but they also look what is the social crisis, crisis in their marriage, crisis with their children, and certainly with a health crisis,” said Reverend George Nicholas, leader of the Concerned Clergy Coalition of WNY. “I would like to kind of give them some guidance on how to move forward.”

The Black and Hispanic/Latino communities are being hardest hit not because the coronavirus is targeting them, but because of pre-existing health disparities.

COVID-19 is not the root…the root is the health disparities.”

While elected officials have said they’re talking with faith-based leaders to get relevant information to afflicted communities, those clergy members say information is not enough.

“There’s just been… not the kind of sense of urgency, or enthusiasm by systems, health systems, elected officials, policymakers, thought leaders. So, as a result, we’re not prepared.”

After meeting with these elected officials, doctors who partnered with a collaboration of churches submitted a plan to ECMC and Erie County asking for $11.8 million dollars to launch a strategic 12-week attack in the most vulnerable populations.

They say the proposal was ignored.

“You can’t say you’re working with the clergy, and then when the clergy put forth a plan and a vision on how we can help… Then there’s no resources. So working with the clergy has got to be more than trying to tell us to tell black folks what they should and shouldn’t be doing.”