NCBW Letter to Governor Brian Kemp
April 25, 2020
Governor Brian Kemp, State of Georgia
206 Washington Street Suite 203, State Capitol
Atlanta, GA 30334
Dear Governor Kemp,
On behalf of the National Directorate, and all of the activist women in our 61 chapters in 27 states that comprise the National Coalition of 100 Black Women (of which five of our largest chapters are located in the great State of Georgia), I must address our sincerest and deepest concern regarding your press conference held on Monday, April 21, 2020 at which you stated, “Georgia’s Stay At Home Order will be lifted for specific businesses starting Friday, April 24, 2020.”
We believe that lifting this Stay at Home Order may be a death call for citizens, with the highest ratio of deaths being within the African American communities.
Per your guidelines released April 22, 2020, workers will be required to wear masks and gloves, stay six feet away from each other and be screened for symptoms. Respectfully, we do not believe establishments will adhere to these guidelines. For example; a person shampooing hair at a salon cannot stay six feet away from the client, and it’s not guaranteed that the gloves will not tear while using combs and other tools, or even that the operator will change gloves after each client.
The safety and well-being of NCBW members remain our top priority and we ask that you listen to the medical experts and not the Politicians and lay Advisors. Based on CDC’s most recent report, in some cities and states, blacks are dying from COVID-19 at a rate of 6 to 1 compared to whites primarily due to the currently existing health disparities in the black community. The Center for Public Integrity reported on April 21, 2020, “Federal estimates suggest that coronavirus cases and deaths could get a lot worse in many places without continued social distancing measures.”
Governor Kemp, as leader, I beg you to rethink your decision and retract it, keeping in mind that there is insufficient testing and no vaccine or cure currently available. We know that you do not want to have an increase of sickness and deaths in the State of Georgia as your legacy.
The National Coalition of 100 Black Women is a 38-year old advocacy organization whose vision is that black women and girls will live in a world where socio-economic inequity does not exist. Thus, we advocate on behalf of black women and girls to promote leadership development and gender equity in the areas of health, education and economic empowerment. As a voice for millions of black women and girls in the United States, the Coalition believes in inclusion, respect, racial and social justice, integrity, accountability and collaboration.
In closing, as an advocacy organization, the health of our members, community and partners are a top priority and we believe you should continue to follow all public health guidance and guidelines.
Virginia W. Harris, National President