Colin Kaepernick says Black and brown people are dying at higher rates from COVID-19 compared to other racial groups because of a long history of racism.
So the former NFL quarterback started the “Know Your Rights Camp COVID-19 Relief Fund,” which he announced Thursday on his social media accounts.
“Black and brown communities are being disproportionately devastated … Because of hundreds of years of structural racism,” said Kaepernick in an Instagram video.
In a separate Instagram post, also shared Thursday, Kaepernick said he’ll donate $100,000 of his own money toward the fund.
The relief fund money will be used to help feed people in Black and Hispanic communities by purchasing food from local area restaurants and distributing it to residents.
The fund will be used to assist with paying people’s essential living expenses as well. Plus it’ll be used to raise awareness on the virus, and personal protective equipment will be handed out to communities on top of that. There will be an effort to get prisoners out of jail during the outbreak too.
Studies have pointed to several reasons why Black people are dying from the virus at disproportionate rates compared to other communities — like having jobs that can’t be done from home, not having access to health care and having pre-existing medical conditions.
For example, in Milwaukee County, located in Wisconsin, Black people only make up 26 percent of the population, but 70 percent of the COVID-19 deaths have been Black people.
The study shows that 34 percent of people who’ve died from the virus in New York City live in Hispanic communities, while Black people have made up 28 percent of the deaths there since the study was released.
Kaepernick’s call to action mirrors a message posted by the New Orleans Saints defensive back Malcolm Jenkins earlier this week, who told Black people to rely on themselves during the crisis, not the U.S. government.
“We must survive,” said Jenkins in an Instagram video he posted Sunday, April 12. “This pandemic is real and the damage that is left in the wake of the coronavirus is realized mostly in our communities. Bad policy, institutional neglect, and overexposure place us disproportionately in arms reach of the dangers of this deadly virus.”
Kaepernick is accepting donations for the relief fund on his Know Your Rights Camp website