Beauty4U, a Korean-owned beauty supply store in north Long Beach, has donated 500 masks to the Long Beach branch of the NAACP to help slow the spread of coronavirus in the city’s vulnerable communities.
The donation came after Long Beach Branch NAACP shared their concern about the disproportionate spread of coronavirus among minority communities on social media and asked for the community’s help in protecting people of color during the pandemic.
“Together, we can address the reports concerning the racial divide and the health disparities for African-Americans and other people of color,” the NAACP branch wrote on social media. “There is news of negative health outcomes for people of color. Some people of color are not being tested in hotspots and some are saying medical workers’ implicit bias is impacting people of color.”
“Coronavirus is disproportionately killing African-Americans, Latinos, and they are at greater risk of death. Many people of color have low wage jobs in grocery stores, health care facilities, fast food restaurants and are delivery workers, stockers, and packers. Many lack insurance. People of color are arriving at hospitals when they are in advanced stages of the virus or have pre-existing conditions. There was misinformation that was disseminated that African-Americans could not contract COVID-19.”
According to information on the City of Long Beach’s online data dashboard, African American, Asian and Pacific Islander residents are represented in greater proportions among the city’s coronavirus cases than in its overall population.
Higher rates of coronavirus have also been noted among African Americans and Latinos in major US cities such as New York, Chicago and Detroit, according to an email sent by 47th Congressional District Congressman Alan Lowenthal to constituents on April 13.
The NAACP will be distributing the 500 masks donated by Beauty4U and an additional 20 made by community member Erma Varnado to senior members, two senior living centers, frontline workers, nursing students, people living in buildings affected by the virus, 100 Black Men of Long Beach and the National Council of Negro Women.
While Beauty4U is among the many local businesses that were forced to close due to the pandemic, the business still wanted to give back to the community that supports it.
“I saw the news about the shortage of masks, particularly in the African American community,” Sung Won Ra of Beauty4U told the Signal Tribune. “I wanted to provide for the community I serve, particularly those who are most vulnerable.”
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health released guidance on April 10 recommending individuals wear face coverings when leaving the house for essential reasons, like grocery shopping.
The public is being asked to wear face coverings en masse since individuals may be infected without knowing. Face coverings may help slow the spread of coronavirus in the community by minimizing the amount of droplets from an infected person’s mouth and nose, but are not nearly as reliable as social distancing and frequent hand washing.
“I believe it is important that individuals and organizations, not only during this crisis, take every opportunity that we can to be a part of dialogues and solutions,” LB Branch NAACP President Naomi Rainey-Pierson stated. “The NAACP promotes the principle that everyone can make a contribution regardless of race, creed, or color to make our society better. We should all work hard to promote equality and justice for all citizens.”