African-American pastors take message to Nashville COVID-19 testing centers

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Some African-American Nashville pastors are getting out of the pulpit and into testing centers with a message that their community faces a higher COVID-19 mortality than other populations.

“It is of utmost importance that African-American come out and get yourself test,” said Reverend Derrick Moore at a drive-in assessment center set up in an African-American neighborhood near Meharry Medical College.

The message from Pastor Moore this week comes two months after the Nashville tornado tore through his Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church.

Now, his community faces a silent killer instead of one that loudly came in the night.

Other African-American leaders share the message as they urged their community to get tested for COVID-19.

“Whether you get the symptoms or not it is important that you are tested,” said Sherae Farmer-Dixon who is dean of the nearby Meharry dental school.

The Meharry dean said most studies show that people of color–especially African-Americans–tend to have more underlying conditions such diabetes, heart disease or high blood pressure making them more susceptible to the coronavirus.

Vera Stokes got the message and was getting tested.

“Because we dropping like flies,” she told News 2. “It looks like we are dying faster than the rest of the folks.”

Rev. Michael Joyner, who helped organize getting congregants to the testing added “Mask up, protect ourselves. wear gloves when necessary, and start the healing process.”

Vera had some more words as well saying the “testing costs nothing but your time.”

Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

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