Austin Area Urban League to distribute 10K PPE kits to address disproportionate COVID-19 cases

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin Area Urban League is gathering 50 volunteers to help pack and distribute 10,000 PPE kits to the Black and minority communities across Austin.

“The community is in a crisis, and they want to know how are we going to be left out again this time, will we be left out, who’s going to serve us and I am stepping up to say no, there’s somebody advocate and taking action on your behalf,” Quincy Dunlap, the urban league’s president and CEO said.

In Austin-Travis County, the Black community makes up less than 9% of the population in Travis County, but the county’s latest data shows 13% of people hospitalized for COVID-19 are Black.

“The Black community does not need to be left out, and that’s what I’m hearing,” he explained.

Myron is a barber at the family-owned Generations Barber Shop in Pflugerville. (KXAN Photo/Candy Rodriguez)

Dunlap said the Austin Area Urban League is just a small piece of the puzzle working toward a solution. He said the distribution of PPE kits is just one effort to combat inequities the Black community in Austin currently faces.

In Pflugerville, at Generations Barber Shop, there’s a bit of chatter. Discussions surrounding back-to-school dilemmas, quarantine haircut mishaps, the future of baseball and COVID-19.

Longtime barber Myron Embra said he remembers the initial conversations surrounding COVID-19 he heard from those in the Black community.

“A lot of people were on the fence about it initially,” Myron Embra explained. “People didn’t believe it, people didn’t know what to believe, so much information coming on the news – wear a mask, don’t wear a mask, wear gloves, don’t wear gloves — it was a lot.”

For new client, Michael Elmore, COVID-19 is top of mind. He wants to ensure he and his family stay safe. At the same time, he says he’s thinking about his community and how it’s being affected.

“It’s unfortunate,” Elmore said. “Especially in the Black community, with our pre-existing conditions.”

That is just one of the reasons, Embra believes the Black community is being impacted by the virus and wants to remind everyone to take care.

“At this point we can’t wait on a vaccine, we can’t hope on a vaccine, we have to take care of our individual health,” he said.

The drive-thru distribution will take place Wednesday at the Wilhelmina Delco Center from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. The Austin Area Urban League will hand out five PPE kits per adult, per car. Each PPE kit will include hand sanitizer, antibacterial soap, gloves, masks, moist towelettes and tissues.

Austin Area Urban League to distribute 10,000 PPE kits. (Source: Austin Area Urban League)

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