Ten of Newark’s historical Baptist churches and the group Choose Healthy Life came together Saturday to host a free COVID-19 vaccination and testing event.
COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy continues to be an issue in the Black community throughout New Jersey. Black residents make up only 8% of those fully vaccinated in the state but represent 15% of the population. Black New Jersey residents also account for one in five COVID-19 hospitalizations.
“How can we bring in and draw the community of Newark to be vaccinated and tested? I thought about, well, let’s have a car show, and by doing so, something to attract the community,” said Pastor Glenn Wilson, of the Pilgrim Baptist Church.
“Black churches are the largest standing organization throughout generations in our community and so they use their voices as influence to help them get vaccinated,” said says Rev. Kimberly Williams, supervisor at City of Newark’s Choose Healthy Life.
Over 50 vaccines and COVID-19 tests were administered.
GreenFaith also hosted an electric car show at the Willing Hearts Community Center where the vaccination event took place. It intends to showcase new job opportunities in the electric car field and move toward a cleaner and overall healthier community.
David Dragonetti, of the Central Jersey Electric Auto Association, says anyone driving a non-electric car is polluting on a regular basis.
“When you’re driving a regular vehicle, you’re polluting on a daily basis and really around your community. You don’t realize that, but every day you get in, you turn on your car and drive down the streets, you are polluting your own area, your own neighborhood, your own family, your own friends, your neighbors,” Dragonetti said. “Electric vehicles don’t do that.”
The group also hosts similar weekly health resource events that are all free to the public.