Black history event looks at COVID impacts

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BINGHAMTON, NY – A joint effort is underway to inform the local Black community about vaccine safety as the virus has ravaged communities of color.

Local historian Brenda Brown is holding her 44th annual Black History Month program this Saturday.

However, rather than gather at the public library, this year’s event will be virtual over Zoom.

Brown is partnering with the local NAACP and the Delta Sigma Theta sorority to put on a panel discussion led by Clinical Pharmacist and Binghamton City Council Person Angela Riley about building trust in the vaccine among the Black and brown communities.

Riley says she recently received her first dose.

“I’m the neighbor that lives down the street. I’m the one that was at the pizzeria. And yes, I’ve received the vaccine because the side effects do not outweigh the benefits,” says Riley.

Riley says she had some pain in her arm and a slight headache, which she characterizes as mild side effects.

She’ll be joined on the panel by Doctor George Stanley and 2 local folks who participated in vaccine trials.

Brown says Communities of Color have been disproportionately impacted by COVID.

“If we all work together, as angels, looking out for our seniors, looking out for people in housing developments and complexes, looking out for street people who are homeless, we have to do something. And I am convinced that this what we have to do,” says Brown.

The program runs from 2:30 to 5:30 Saturday and will also include a look at historical photos of African-Americans in Broome County as well as a discussion of the recent film Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.

Click here to access the Zoom meeting.

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