Minneapolis community leaders find ways to fill in gaps as COVID-19 disrupts needed services

In parts of the country, the COVID-19 pandemic is hitting some African-American and minority communities hard.

Right now, leaders in north Minneapolis are responding to the challenges some on are facing during this public health crisis.

"We’re not sitting still, we’re fighting back," said Summit Academy President Louis King.

King is among a group of black leaders responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We’re fighting back," he said. "We’re not just sitting here allowing this virus to keep us down."

The Northside Community Response Team first hit the ground in the aftermath of a tornado in 2011. Now, they’re facing another storm.

"We’ve all heard about the impact of COVID-19 on the African-American community, whether it’s health, employment, education," King explained. "We need to just come together and figure out how we can help people who are primarily low income get through."

Through a number of partnerships, the group’s outreach plan encompasses urban television and radio programming.

"We’re focused on the social and civic fabric that is the school piece, mental health, the church, you can’t go to church anymore," he added.

In May, they’ll roll out mobile learning labs to help students in an era of distance learning.

"We could have a problem with kids losing progress and falling behind," he said.

During these difficult times, the northside community response team is working to stay one step ahead.

"Feelings of depression, isolation, loneliness, frustration," King said. "All of those things kick in and people need help, and they need a place that you can turn to."