Social justice activist and former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick on last week launched his Know Your Rights Camp COVID-19 Relief Fund in support of Black and Brown communities, NBC News reports. Kaepernick, who donated $100,000 to the fund, said proceeds will go toward food, education, housing and personal protective equipment for vulnerable communities, according to NBC. It will also provide assistance to incarcerated people and their families as they struggle with the ramifications of this global pandemic.
Kaepernick, 32, is best known for his decision in 2016 to protest police brutality against Black and Brown people by kneeling during the National Anthem before football games. He launched his Know Your Rights Camp organization in an effort to “advance the liberation and well-being of Black and Brown communities through education, self-empowerment, mass-mobilization and the creation of new systems that elevate the next generation of change leaders,“ according to the group’s website.
“Black and brown communities are being disproportionately devastated by COVID-19 because of hundreds of years of structural racism,” the star athlete said in a video he posted to coincide with the launch of the new fund. “That’s why we’ve established the ‘Know Your Rights’ Camp COVID-19 Relief Fund to help address these issues. We need each other now more than ever.”
Structural racism makes Black & Brown ppl more likely to die from #COVID19. @kaepernick7 launched the Know Your Rights Camp COVID-19 Relief Fund to directly impact the disproportionate effect #coronavirus is having on our communities. #WeGotUs 🖤✊🏾 Donate: https://t.co/drZYeE3a3O pic.twitter.com/vZwsu38nro— Know Your Rights Camp (@yourrightscamp) April 16, 2020
Although most states haven’t disclosed racial and ethnic data on coronavirus infections, early reports in major U.S. cities like Chicago and Detroit suggest COVID-19 has disproportionately affected African American and Latino communities—many of which have pre-existing conditions, jobs that can’t be done remotely, and are less likely to trust their doctors.
As Colorlines reported on April 8, Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said COVID-19 is exposing health disparities in communities of color that remind him of the HIV/AIDS epidemic of the 1980s. “I see a similarity here because health disparities have always existed for the African American community,” Fauci said. “Here again with the crisis, how it’s shining a bright light on how unacceptable that is because, yet again, when you have a situation like the coronavirus, they are suffering disproportionately.”
“When all this is over and, as we said, it will end, we will get over coronavirus,” Fauci added, “but there will still be health disparities which we really do need to address in the African American community.”
According to the Know Your Rights website, the COVID-19 relief fund has so far raised $289,287 in donations for communities of color.