/NAACP says state didn’t spend federal funds properly to battle COVID-19

NAACP says state didn’t spend federal funds properly to battle COVID-19

Both the NAACP state chapter and the national organization filed a complaint against the state. The state’s actions were deemed to violate the Civil Rights Act 1964. State officials “deliberately blocked advocacy groups from receiving federal funds” to combat the epidemic in the minority community. The complaint states that the State of Mississippi, along with other public and private entities in the state, received $15.7 billion in COVID-19-related funding. However, the state continued to offer a discriminatory program which led to disproportionate rates of illness, hospitalization and death in Black, Indigenous and brown communities. The NAACP complaint states that Mississippi engaged in illegal race discrimination by failing to plan, distribute or otherwise provide COVID-19 vaccination access in an equitable manner. This violated its legal duty not to discriminate in federally-assisted emergency preparedness, response and mitigation programs. Dobbs stated that although the state faced many challenges in advancing the equity mission, including trust issues and early vaccine access, as well as technological barriers to vaccination appointments, a statewide coalition made up of community, faith, medical, and agency leaders was able deliver the needed information, vaccines, and PPE to minorities across the state. Dobbs stated that the results of these efforts are evident today. They have led to a higher vaccination rate among Black Mississippians, than among whites, and a higher rate among Black Mississippians, than among all other Mississippians. Also, there has been a lower COVID-19 death rate among Black Mississippians, than among whites. Dobbs said that the vaccine rate for Hispanics was almost equal to that for white Mississippians. In its early days, the pandemic had disparate effects on Mississippians who were of color. It caused a spike in deaths, spread of the virus, and lowered vaccine rates. Dobbs, along with other state officials, were open about these racial disparities. They said that they had worked hard to correct them. READ MORE: “We’re failing minorities”: Why Black Mississippians receive fewer COVID-19 vaccinations than white Mississippians. But, the complaint claims that state leaders failed to develop a strategy for ensuring a higher state vaccination rate. This was especially true in the minority community. They also did not offer a plan to increase the rate. The complaint points out that the state’s health system is plagued by problems that adversely affect minorities. The complaint states that more was required to help minorities get to the vaccine locations. “Just like Mississippi Governor. “Just as Tate Reeves disavowed systemic racism, so too did the state’s COVID-19 vaccination program fail to account for these systemic weaknesses and vulnerabilities,” the complaint stated. “The state’s vaccination program discriminates against communities based on race, color or national origin,” the complaint stated. Robert James is the president of the Mississippi NAACP chapter. READ MORE: How Mississippi’s leaders in Black communities put it on the path of vaccine equity