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Non-profit creates 'Toledo Mask Up' PSA to raise COVID-19 safety awareness

People of color are almost three times as likely to contract COVID-19 compared to white people, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

TOLEDO, Ohio — The COVID-19 pandemic is hitting urban and minority populations hard, so a non-profit organization in Toledo is hoping to be a part of the solution in Lucas County. 

Songwriter, recording artist and CEO of the Center of Hope Family Services Inc., Dr. Tracee Perryman, penned a song to encourage mask-wearing and social distancing in urban communities and inner-city areas.

The song is featured in a short PSA video with a diverse cast. It is all part of the "Toledo Mask Up Project." 

"My thought was if people can see themselves as part of the solution, they're more likely to buy in," Perryman said. "For people of color, we're more likely to live in concentrated communities where we're in larger groups. We're more vulnerable through healthcare, where we live, the types of occupations that we hold so we have to be more vigilant." 

According to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) Provisional Death Counts, people of color are almost three times as likely to contract the COVID-19 virus compared to white people and are one to two times as likely to die from the virus.

Jessica Williams of Toledo has a father who's battling cancer and had a scare with the virus earlier this year. 

She hopes people will look out for their neighbors. 

"We know that this is a virus that we can't do anything about and we have to live it with it. If it's [mask wearing] not for you, then do it for me and if not for me, then my father, and if not for my father then my uncle or my aunt," Williams said. 

The campaign was made possible through a $50,000 grant from the city of Toledo Department of Neighborhoods. 

A direct mail piece with important information about COVID-19 will also be sent out to homes in low-income areas.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the best way to slow the spread of COVID-19 is to wear a mask, stay six feet apart, and wash your hands. 


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