CBS Sports anchor James Brown has shot a public service announcement as part of a local nonprofit’s campaign to urge the county’s Black residents to take a COVID-19 test.
“As you know, coronavirus infection rates have risen in the Black community. As a Maryland resident, I am happy to share that the African American Health Program is hosting free COVID-19 testing sites in Montgomery County,” Brown says in the PSA.
The organization also is a partner with the Department of Health and Human Services, founder & executive director Kimatni Rawlins said, “specifically to help the Black and African American residents in the county utilize more of the free COVID-19 resources that they are offering, because traditionally, we have not been doing so.”
Fit Fathers has been working with AAHP for about five years, creating content, providing cooking, fitness demonstrations and more, all at no charge, to provide an extra layer of resources to AAHP, Rawlins said.
“They’re like the oversight committee for all the derogatory health issues for Black residents in the county,” Rawlins said, “whether its diabetes, heart disease, and the goal is to help make residents more aware of all the resources that the county offers.”
AAHP received $3.3 million in a special appropriation from the County Council last August, with up to $335,500 intended for marketing and communications about COVID-19 (Disclosure: AAHP advertises in the Source). The videos, including Brown’s PSA, are part of that effort.
Rawlins’ father and Brown have been friends for about 20 years, Rawlins said.
“Brown is a Montgomery County resident, so he’s always trying to give back to the community as much as possible,” Rawlins said, explaining his participation. “So when we told him about the campaign with the county, he was all on board. He even utilized CBS studios to shoot the PSA.”
The infection numbers Brown mentions demonstrate that the Black community is more at risk from contracting and dying from the virus, so AAHP has set up a series of free testing sites around the county and began offering testing in November.
By visiting a site and taking a free test, clients also receive a bag of food, a COVID-19 swag box with masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, digital thermometer and more, along with an opportunity to preregister for the county’s vaccine program.
To help ease concerns about what happens when a resident visits a test site, Fit Fathers’ shot a second, longer one.
“The longer video shows what to expect, because there’s all these misnomers about the test and it hurts and it goes up your brain,” said Rawlins, who narrated and appears in the second video.
“We’re showing them how simple it is, how quick it is and the fact that it’s self-administered,” he said.
The current information campaign, with the tag line “Don’t Stress, Take the Test,” will run through June, Rawlins said, and the group will be producing more content, including videos.
Screenshot from Fit Fathers video