The Martin Luther King Jr. Committee of Santa Barbara hosted a town meeting via Zoom to discuss the state of the African American community in Santa Barbara County.
Members in the meeting talked about the impacts of the pandemic, specifically with public and mental health, along with housing. Multiple people were on the panel, including Community Services Director Kemha Lawrence, Adult Health Nurse Practitioner Dr. Charlotte Gullap-Moore, Assistant CEO Terri Nisich, and Registered MFT Associate Nick Papageorge.
Moore spoke about the increased rates of COVID-19 among African American communities.
She said these numbers are attributed to several factors, such as discrimination in the health care system, food insecurity, economic instability, housing, and education.
To help these inequalities, she said data be captured, protected, disseminated to improve transparency within the Black community. She also said that guidelines and policies should be updated, and healthcare environments need to reflect their patient populations.
County officials attending the meeting said they are working on doing more by creating a racial equity plan and involving the community more.