Sports & Entertainment Celebrities Team Up With National Baptist Convention to Fight COVID-19: Resources for 20 million Americans facing pandemic

Temple Hills, Maryland – The National Capital Baptist Convention (N.B.C.), led by Reverend Charles McNeill, Jr., announced Friday “immediate action to assess, test, track, treat, and potentially contain individuals compromised by the pandemic.”

A private, diverse, conglomerate of both small and large businesses are partnering to tackle the impact of COVID-19 in the African American community, a press release from the denomination said. With the utilization of “health pods” to provide mobile testing options, this initiative will bring together both public and private sectors to deliver community-based access to getting tested for COVID-19 and potential treatment. In the release sent from to CapitolBeatOK and other news organizations, Melvin Forbes, a consultant who is N.B.C.’s Chief Strategist, stated: 
“The history of all solutions and progress made by African Americans has always started in our churches, from civil rights to human rights, voting rights, and economic rights. With the combination of this faith-based business collaborative, we intend to reduce the underlying healthcare disparity gaps in the African American communities that have been highlighted during this pandemic. The unique community-based approach we have in place for COVID-19 is called PIElazation (Portable, Integratable, Expandable), providing mobile resources and implementing Eco-Tech Pro-IV Health Solution Pods locally to help make testing resources more accessible while providing education to reduce the disproportionality of this virus in our community. Testing and treatment are vital to bringing both short and long-term solutions directly to the African American communities that need them most at this critical time.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), while the effects of COVID-19 on the health of racial and ethnic minority groups are still emerging, current data suggest a disproportionate burden of illness and death among racial and ethnic minority groups. CNN has reported recent evidence that more African Americans may be dying from the coronavirus in the United States than whites or other ethnic groups. 

Black Americans represent 13.4 percent of the American population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Still, counties with higher Black populations account for more than half of all COVID-19 cases and almost 60 percent of deaths, the study found. The U.S. has reportedly spent $3 trillion on the COVID-19 crisis. To date, the press release maintained, “no substantive testing or resources have been allocated or disbursed in underserved communities that have large Black populations.” 

Tony White, president of Special Olympics of North America, commented: “One of the first charges I accepted and wholehearted embraced was the expansion of the Special Olympics of North America into the Faith and African American community. In this unprecedented time, God has answered our prayers; we are honored to join, and, more importantly, take action in all communities in collaboration with the National Baptist Convention. The country has lost millions of jobs, and upon hearing of the job strategy, which could employ not only caregivers but volunteers, parents, and loved ones, affected by COVID-19, I was blown away at the prospects of our athletes being trained in Bethune Academic Curriculum Kit (B.A.C.K.), specialized workforce development curriculum under development.”

N.B.C. has also teamed up with celebrity entertainers and athletes to address this critical issue further, the press release disclosed.
“Regrettably, we have food and health deserts in Prince George’s County. The tragic murder of George Floyd has also compounded things, as there are trust issues in our communities. The work we will do, in partnership with the National Baptist Convention, is what we should all rally around,” stated All-Pro Defensive Back, DeAngelo Hall in the press release.

“We are encouraged that DeAngelo and his friends will engage directly into the community, like Prince George’s County, along with Brett Favre, Ray Lewis, and athletes from all sports. Sports are a part of the fabric of our community. We are excited to have an impact in the world of sports with our partnerships with former Patriot, Richard Myles, the founder, and Owner of the Minor Football League, as their players will also be tested,” stated Reverend McNeill, who in previous years worked in Oklahoma. 

In-home assessment (mental health), testing (COVID-19), and utilization of Eco-Tech Pro-IV Health Pods, which will be on all church sites, are vital to bringing short and long term solutions directly to the communities that need them most at this critical time. “Testing and treatment has to be a grassroots level effort to be effective, and the Pods are designed to be that solution,” said College Football Hall of Famer and San Francisco 49er’s legend, Randy Cross.
Other collaborators joining this initiative include The Naismith International Basketball Foundation. Harlem Globetrotters Legend and Basketball Hall of Famer Bobby “Zorro” Hunter, current NBA and retired players such as Dale Davis, and wrestling icon Bill Goldberg are among what N.B.C. characterized as “the scores of sports legends who have joined the movement.” 

Reverend McNeill continued in the Friday, June 12 release, “COVID-19 has brought to light the systematic challenges that exist in the African American community as it relates to having access to healthcare. Recognizing these disparities, we partnered with the private coalition and entertainment and sports celebrities to help make testing resources available and provide education to reduce the disproportionate number of infections and morbidity rates in our community. The church has always been the beacon of light on a hill, and through this effort, we will continue to be devoted to doing God’s work.”

With more than 9.8 million tithing members and 33,000 plus churches, the National Baptist Convention (N.B.C.) “has dedicated itself to fulfilling the high commission of Jesus Christ through teaching, preaching, and during this critical moment in history, healing,” the recent release said. 

N.B.C. is committed to creating jobs and developing faith-driven strategies to improve the quality of life for its members and the communities they serve. The health pods allow for the ability to provide essential healthcare services and create jobs, which is vitally important to the communities in which they serve. With the rollout, there is the anticipation of new employment opportunities across the country. The pods will aide in the speed of the reopening of our nation through this initiative. We are creating jobs for the critical front-line workers and helping to ensure communities and businesses have access to testing to maintain a safe and COVID-19 free workforce.

The N.B.C. release shared the response of Ray Lewis, a citizen backing the denomination’s efforts: “There’s nobody angrier and more heart-broken than me over the murder of Brother Floyd, but we have another devil to fight, and his name is Corona. Thousands of our people are still dying daily, and I’m asking, pleading, that every disenfranchised brother and sister of all races would join our movement and help validate the process to test in all communities, beginning with the National Baptist Convention (N.B.C.). I’M IN.” 

The first pilot health pod was scheduled to be positioned in the Metropolitan Washington Area (DMV). For more information, visit