Interview with Betty Andrews, President Iowa-Nebraska NAACP State Area Conference of Branches

By Ramon Christopher

The Iowa-Nebraska NAACP State Area Conference of Branches is seeking the support of Nebraska Barber and Beauty Shops for sharing information about vaccines.  I sat down for a brief chat with Betty C. Andrews who is the President of the organization to learn more about the initiative.

Q: What can you tell us about the program?

A: The program is called, COVID:  Know More!  The motto is “Fight with Facts!” 

As you know, Covid has affected the African American and other minority communities at devastating rates. This virus has taken far too many lives and adversely impacted the lives of many others in communities of color with much greater frequency than in the majority community.  With many Black and Brown community members being essential workers, being less likely to be believed when it comes to their health, coupled with the historic experimentation on people of color by the health care system, many people are unsure where to get trustworthy information. The NAACP has partnered with United Way of the Midland to offer grants for Barber and Beauty Shop owners to help provide information that dispels myths about the vaccines and hopefully save lives.  

Q: Why is this important?

A: Understandably there is a lot of information out there about Covid 19 and vaccines.  That information is not always correct, and it is sometimes hard to navigate.  We wanted to give people the opportunity to hear this information from an informed perspective as delivered through a trustworthy lens.  

Q: Why are we asking owners to do this?

A: Because we know that Barber and Beauty shops are considered a community gathering place where lots of dialog takes place, we have aimed at barber and beauty shop owners.  People in this industry are considered reliable messengers, and their clients trust them. This grant would support the owners as they share information about the importance of the vaccine in preventing deaths and reducing the severity of the illness due to Covid 19.

Q: How can a barbershop or beauty shop owner apply?

A:  The grant has a financial incentive of $1000 to assist with getting the word out. 

For more information or to apply for the Covid: Know More Grant, contact the Iowa/Nebraska NAACP at IowaNebraskaNAACP@gmail.com or 515.288.7171.  Shop owners would agree to share information that we provide about the vaccine so that their clients can make informed decisions.  You may also contact the Omaha or Lincoln Branches of the NAACP.   Only barber and beauty shop OWNERS are eligible to apply. Our first Nebraska group has already begun.  There are approximately 12 remaining slots remaining to participate. Apply at your earliest convenience to be considered.

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Pranjal Doorwar