As part of Jack Dorsey’s $1 billion commitment to help combat the spread of COVID-19, the Twitter co-founder and CEO announced that he is donating $1 million to the Masks for the People humanitarian campaign. The donation will also go toward providing free personal protective equipment (PPE) and testing kits for those who are incarcerated, formerly incarcerated, violence interrupters, essential workers, and the elderly in communities of color.
Dorsey made the announcement Monday night during a livestream chat with campaign leaders Pastor Michael McBride and CNN host and comedian W. Kamau Bell.
“Your plan was extremely thoughtful and comprehensive, and it’s obviously touching a community that needs it. The way you thought out not just the logistics of how to buy the PPE and the protective gear for people, but also how you’re supporting them with community outreach,” said Dorsey, according to a press release.
Launched on April 6, Masks for the People is sponsored by the nongovernmental organization Live Free and Black Church Action Fund. The campaign aims to secure a supply chain of needed supplies like masks, sanitizers, and coronavirus tests for urban neighborhoods and poor rural communities.
“Less than a week ago we pulled together an unprecedented coalition of activists, faith leaders, artists and entrepreneurs committed to securing a supply chain of PPE and preventative care for Black and Brown communities,” said Pastor McBride. “Thanks to Dorsey’s generosity, and the generosity of others who have given, we can scale immediately and expand beyond the initial eight to 10 cities. It’s just a blessing.”
Dorsey’s donation comes a week after he pledged to transfer $1 billion of his equity in Square, the digital payments company he also co-founded, to a new foundation that will support coronavirus relief efforts. The billionaire has also teamed up with Rihanna to contribute to a $4.2 million grant to help domestic violence victims amid the COVID-19 crisis.
— jack (@jack) April 14, 2020
COVID-19’s Impact on Black America
According to reports, black people across the country are being infected and dying from COVID-19 at alarming rates. In both Louisiana and Chicago, roughly 70% of the COVID-19 deaths have occurred among blacks even though they are a minority in both areas. Meanwhile, in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, blacks make up about 27% of the population but comprised almost half of all COVID-19 infections and 71% of all fatalities.
The coronavirus’s impact on African Americans is being exacerbated for a number of reasons. For one, a disproportionate number of black and brown Americans face underlying health conditions, which have made them more vulnerable to the pandemic. In addition to being likely to be sick, people of color are less likely to have health coverage, stable housing, and protection. Furthermore, black and brown workers are more likely to commute to work during the crisis.