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Faith leaders request meeting with Gov. DeSantis about COVID in communities of color

Posted at 6:12 PM, Jan 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-19 18:12:44-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Tallahassee's Rev. R. B. Holmes joined with other faith leaders from across the state in writing a letter to Governor Ron DeSantis, asking him to listen to trusted voices to find more immediate solutions to the omicron surge.

"Our discussion with the governor is how can we move forward to get more people vaccinated and more people tested," Holmes said.

According to the letter the Christian Clergy Alliances sent to Gov. Desantis, faith leaders across the state want more action from state leaders as they watch COVID hospitalizations climb to record numbers without seeing state testing sites in predominately black neighborhoods.

"Where I live, I haven't seen any at all," said Doris Liggans, who lives in Tallahassee.

It's that absence that Holmes and his peers hope to overcome in a requested meeting with the governor.

"We must continue to talk about testing and create a vaccination pop-up clinics," adds Holmes.

This request, as previous efforts targeting minority communities have only resulted in about 40% of the people of color in Florida receiving their COVID shots to date. That data the group is citing from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

"This is my third time having communication with the governor. As a relates to our overall effort to get close to 75% of people of color vaccinated and other people across the great state of Florida."

He's also looking to the Biden administration for more direct efforts to help underserved communities, even as free home tests were made available for order Tuesday.

"My concern about the tests the home test kits is many people do not have computers. Many senior citizens in marginalized communities may not be able to read those directions. And it's going to take 14 days before the mailman brings those kids to their homes."

Overall, though, he said, "This fight is not against the administration. It's not against the state government. This fight is against this vicious and deadly virus."

Holmes did confirm that the Governor's office responded to their request for a meeting. That should happen some time next week.