Leaders set up hotline to help Black community in Minneapolis traverse the COVID-19 pandemic

As the state sees a rise in COVID-19 cases, two local organizations are working to steer resources to the Black community.

In just a few days, the Phyllis Wheatley Community Center and the African American Leadership Forum will be launching a COVID-19 hotline. The goal of the hotline is to get information to members of the Black community who have been disproportionally impacted by the coronavirus.

State data shows Black Minnesotans account for 13.7 percent of the COVID-19 cases and 8.6 percent of related deaths from the disease, despite making up just an estimated 7 percent of the state's population.

"Sometimes people don’t understand that this is really serious," said Suzanne Burks.

Burks and Valerie Stevenson of the Phyllis Wheatley Community Center in north Minneapolis are focused on COVID-19 and the Black community.

"This has become isolation," said Stevenson. "This has become depression. This has become, for some, suicidal."

With funding from the Minnesota Department of Health, their organization is teaming up with the African American Leadership Forum to launch the Minnesota Black Community COVID-19 hotline.

"I think it’s important because we need to bring awareness to this issue for the Black community," added Stevenson.