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Austin, Garfield Park, North Lawndale

#MaskUpAndLive Campaign Giving Out Masks To West Siders To End Coronavirus Racial Disparities

The campaign is distributing masks at Creative Salon and door-to-door on the West Side.

La Shawn Ford at Creative Salon at the launch of Mask Up And Live.
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NORTH LAWNDALE — State Rep. La Shawn Ford is teaming up with a local West Side hair salon to distribute masks to help address the disparities in deaths and medical resources facing Black Chicagoans amid the coronavirus pandemic.

As of Friday, 56 percent of people who have died from COVID-19 have been Black.

And even though the state beginning May 1 will mandate residents wear protective face coverings when leaving the home, Ford said Black communities have struggled with accessing personal protective equipment.

But the new campaign Ford helped launch, Mask Up and Live, will help raise awareness of those disparities and highlight the importance of wearing masks among Black folks. The campaign will also be distributing donated masks each weekday for the foreseeable future from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Creative Salon, 3964 W. 16th St.

“We intend to get masks out to those that don’t have access to them in the Black communities,” Ford said. “We are coming together to do the right thing and save lives.”

The campaign’s new website includes digital resources for finding masks online and locally for free or at low cost. The website hosts the #MaskUpAndLive social media challenge that encourages Black folks to upload pics and selfies showing off their masks to help normalize a culture of safety.

Salon owner Creative Scott is organizing door-to-door outreach to make sure that all residents in Black communities have access to the masks. Residents in the area can also get the masks delivered for free. To volunteer to help with outreach, make a donation, or request a mask delivery, call (224) 857-0795 or (312) 905-3962.

Pascal Sabino is a Report for America corps member covering Austin, North Lawndale and Garfield Park for Block Club Chicago.

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