‘Black Men Engaged’ group hands out turkeys, hams and COVID-19 information to Durkeeville neighbors

The community group, 'Black Men Engaged' hand out turkeys and hams along with COVID-19 educational information to neighbors in Durkeeville. (WJXT)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville City Council member Ju’Coby Pittman wants to be an example for the people she represents in the neighborhoods of District 8.

Standing in the heart of Durkeeville at the historic James P. Small Park Wednesday, she wanted to make sure her constituents understood the facts surrounding COVID-19 and they ways they can protect themselves, their family and their community.

“This is a deadly decision. And we got to take it seriously,” Pittman said. “”I am a survivor of COVID. So, I am a champion. I was in the hospital for a month and a half and almost didn’t make it.”

Joining other councilmembers Sam Newby and Reggie Gaffney, along with the community group Black Men Engaged, Pittman wanted to make sure the people she speaks for have information about the vaccine.

“I am just pleased and proud that I’m on this side to make sure that my voice is heard, and that I am in their ear to make sure that we make sure that they’re safe,” Pittman said.

The event was headlined with a free turkey and ham giveaway to families who live in the area. The community leaders and Black Men Engaged also set up free COVID-19 vaccinations and consultations with healthcare professionals.

According to a Palm Beach Post analysis of non-public data, few members of Florida communities where most people are Black or Republican have gotten the free COVID-19 vaccine. Durkeville is heavily populated by African Americans.

“It’s really tough. A lot of people don’t have trust in the vaccination, but I want to encourage them. You must get vaccinated,” City Council President Sam Newby said.

The event is part of #TaketheShotJax, a series of events and activities in partnership with the Health and Human Services’ program, We Can Do This, where individuals can receive information about the Covid-19 vaccination and how to protect themselves. Subsequent events include a job fair, pop-up vaccination mobile clinic, and door-to-door vaccination drives.

About Black Men Engaged

Black Men Engaged sole mission is to meet black men where they are with vital social programs that focus on issues that affect underserved communities of color. Black Men Engaged is a 501c3 organization.

About We Can Do This

The Health and Human Services COVID-19 public education campaign is a national initiative to increase public confidence in and uptake of COVID-19 vaccines while reinforcing basic prevention measures such as mask wearing and social distancing. Through a nationwide network of trusted messengers and consistent, fact-based public health messaging, the campaign helps the public make informed decisions about their health and COVID-19, including steps to protect themselves and their communities. The effort is driven by communication science and provides tailored information for at-risk groups.