A coalition of New York City clergy and minority activists is urging Gov. Andrew Cuomo to cease using them as political “props” and designate homes of worship as “essential,” letting them function as long-term COVID-19 vaccination sites and neighborhood well being facilities.
“We’re not just going to be pop-ups. We’re not going to be props,” stated Black Institute CEO Bertha Lewis, referring to Cuomo holding closed-press COVID “press conferences” at sites in Harlem and other minority neighborhoods as he battles a number of probes over his dealing with of nursing houses throughout the pandemic and a slew of sexual harassment accusations.
“Stop doing this to us. We’re not a `pop-up’ community,” Lewis stated. “We’re tired of being treated as props and pawns by Governor Cuomo. …. He only shows up at black and brown churches when he wants a photo op. Enough is enough.”
Lewis joined a cross-section of clergy and politicians — together with mayoral candidate and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and Manhattan Borough Gale Brewer — at a rally on the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in Morningside Height to press the governor on faith-based vaccination sites.
Said Pastor Gil Monrose, chief of the 67th Precinct Clergy Council in Brooklyn, which incorporates over 100 churches, “Our homes of worship can play a giant function in vaccinating Black and brown New Yorkers, however Governor Cuomo should designate them as Essential to make that occur.
“Until a larger number of our folks are vaccinated against COVID, our communities will be left out of the recovery after COVID. Cuomo must act now and designate houses of worship as Essential, so we can operate as long-term COVID vaccination sites and community health centers.”
Vaccination charges are manner down within the metropolis’s lower-income and minority communities, amongst these hardest hit by the coronavirus.
The most up-to-date metropolis Health Department information present that less than 40 p.c of residents in Brooklyn’s Bedford Stuyvesant, Brownsville and Canarsie neighborhoods had gotten at the least one dose.
Vaccination charges have been additionally underneath 40 p.c in Hunts Point in The Bronx and South Jamaica and Laurelton/Rosedale in Queens.
Citywide, 55 p.c of residents have obtained at the least one dose.
The Post simply reported an enormous slowdown in the variety of Big Apple residents getting vaccinated.
Adams on Thursday endorsed the clergy effort.
“We cannot underestimate the power of credible messengers in delivering messages — and results — to communities that are hard to reach through mainstream airwaves and traditional PSAs,” Adams stated.
“Time and time again, I have found that our diverse community of interfaith clergy has the essential trust of audiences who are receptive to their messages, from vaccinations and preventive healthcare to youth empowerment and caring for our homeless neighbors in need.”
Cuomo has designated 17 homes of worship statewide as pop-up sites — many in black and Latino neighborhoods — to enhance entry for folks to get vaccinated.
Cuomo’s workplace referred requires remark to the state Health Department, which stated it was “reviewing” the clergy’s request.
“We enthusiastically welcome any offer to join New York’s multi-pronged, multi-faceted efforts in breaking down barriers to access and empowering all New Yorkers to confidently make the decision to get vaccinated,” stated Health Department spokeswoman Jill Montag.
“Our goal is to get as many shots into as many arms as we can, as quickly and equitably as humanly possible. We continue to make tremendous progress in vaccinating eligible New Yorkers and to date, over 16,234,370 shots have been administered statewide – meaning 37% New Yorkers are fully vaccinated. We look forward to reviewing their plans.”