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Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.’s General President Everett B. Ward Says African Americans Will Suffer Disproportionately Under ‘Opening Up America Again’ Guidelines

Open Letter To President Donald J. Trump Offers Five Additional Recommendations

(BALTIMORE, MARYLAND, April 22, 2020) – Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. General President Everett B. Ward, Ph.D. argued that African Americans will suffer disproportionately under President Donald J. Trump’s “Opening Up America Again” guidelines if states and municipalities repeal the almost nationwide Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic stay-at-home orders.

From mid-March through early April, at least 42 states enacted stay-at-home orders, accounting for nearly 316 million people – roughly 95% of this country due to the COVID-19 outbreak with more than 840,000 confirmed cases and 25,000 deaths to date.

“Mr. President, if our state and regional economies opened prematurely, it is clear that COVID-19 exposure will escalate among African Americans and lead to unimaginable levels of death and despair in many of the densely populated communities in which we reside,” wrote President Ward in an open letter to President Trump this week. (See Accompanying Letter)

Since the onslaught of the pandemic, he explained, African Americans have been shown to be at a higher risk for death due to health disparities, exacerbated by historic and systemic factors, their increased exposure as essential employees, and that fewer than one in five are able to work from home.

President Ward offered five additional recommendations before state and regional governments should open their economies, including: Improve the Extremely High False Negative Results of Americans Tested For COVID-19; Improve Governmental Collaborationwith African American Churches, Historically Black College and Universities, and Minority-Serving Institutions in Providing COVID-19 Health Promotion and Prevention Education; Improve Air Filtration Quality in all Federal and State and Municipal Facilities; Improve Air Filtration Standards in Transportation, and lastly, Improved Access to Health Care in Communities with Densely Populated Areas.

“Because of historic social, environmental, and financial inequalities, African Americans bear the burden of having the highest rates of all the diseases among all Americans in our country and based on the data alone should be considered that African Americans should be considered a vulnerable group throughout the three phases of reopening,” he wrote.

Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. (ΑΦΑ) is the first African American Greek-lettered fraternity in the world.

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