One of five founding cities of the Choose Healthy Life Action Plan, Detroit gains new resources for COVID-19 testing, education, and prevention
(DETROIT, MI) – Today, at a free COVID-19 testing event hosted by Choose Healthy Life, Rev. Horace Sheffield III and a group of Detroit’s most respected Black clergy leaders began a new wave of COVID-19 testing, education, and prevention efforts that will benefit Detroit’s Black community. The Choose Healthy Life Action Plan will fight the health disparities faced by Black Detroiters with funding and support for services including COVID-19 testing and vaccine education.
The Choose Healthy Life Action Plan is a new and historic partnership between Black churches, public health experts, medical professionals, United Way, and other local agencies. The Action Plan is launching in five U.S. cities and is led by the Choose Healthy Life National Black Clergy Health Leadership Council, co-chaired by Rev. Al Sharpton and Rev. Calvin O. Butts, III. Rev. Sheffield represents Detroit on the council. Other council members are: U.S. Senator Rev. Raphael Warnock, Rev. Jacques DeGraff of New York City, Rev. David Jefferson of Newark, and Rev. Frank Tucker of Washington, D.C.
“In one year’s time, COVID-19 has devastated the Black community both here in Detroit and across the nation,” said Rev. Horace Sheffield III. “Systemic racism and racial disparities in our health care system have made this deadly disease even deadlier in our neighborhoods. The power of the Black church to provide leadership, education, and support in the face of widespread health crises is well-established. As we have done with the HIV/AIDS pandemic, our churches and clergy now have new resources to fight COVID-19 in our communities, stop the spread of the virus, and save lives.”
“COVID-19 has hit black and brown communities particularly hard. We are excited to work with faith leaders in the black community to champion a message of health and fight the disparities that have affected so many people,” said Dr. Darienne Hudson, president, and CEO, United Way for Southeastern Michigan. “Awareness, testing, and broad adoption of safety measures will help save lives, as we all work through the ongoing pandemic.”
Following today’s testing event, Rev. Sheffield announced that free testing will take place the second Saturday of each month at the Sheffield Center and every fourth Saturday at Greater Grace Temple (23500 W. Seven Mile Rd.)
An additional $50,000 in new grant funds will support COVID-19 testing and prevention at Black churches serving Detroit neighborhoods. Participating churches include:
- New Destiny Christian Fellowship (Rev. Sheffield)
- Fellowship Chapel (Rev. Dr. Wendall Anthony)
- Greater Grace Temple (Bishop Charles H. Ellis III)
- Historic King Solomon (Rev. Charles E. Williams II)
- Greater St. Mark (Pastor Kenneth G. Giles)
- Greater Pentecostal Temple (Bishop C.M. Laster Sr.)
- Second Ebenezer Baptist Church (Bishop Edgar L. Vann)
- Saunders Memorial Allen Temple AME (Rev. Joelynn T. Stokes, Esq.)
- Third New Hope Baptist Church (Lead Pastor QuanTez Pressley)
The Choose Healthy Life Action Plan is based on the successful model crated and developed by Debra Fraser-Howze, who founded the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS to tackle the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Acknowledging that the Black church is the oldest, most respected, and trusted institutions in the Black community, the model is a sustainable, scalable, and transferable approach to public health. Partnering with United Way agencies, local health departments and community-based organizations, churches are given the necessary resources, training, and support to provide critical health services to their community’s most vulnerable members.
Grant Funding for Choose Healthy Life is provided by founding sponsors Quest Diagnostics, the Quest Diagnostics Foundation, and Resolve to Save Lives.
For more information on Choose Healthy Life, visit choosehealthylife.org.
Click here to find the nearest community-based COVID-19 testing sites.
About Choose Healthy Life: Choose Healthy Life Black Clergy Action Plan is a program developed by D. Fraser Associates (DFA) based on the DFA Choose Healthy Life Standard – a sustainable, scalable, and transferable approach to public health. The highly successful Standard was created by Debra Fraser-Howze, principal at DFA and founder of the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS to address the AIDS epidemic. It is centered around the Black church – the oldest and most trusted institutions in the Black community. Partnering with United Way agencies, local health departments, and community health organizations, churches receive the necessary resources, training and support to make available health services to the region’s most vulnerable individuals. The Choose Healthy Life Black Clergy Action Plan has been made possible through the support of founding partner Quest Diagnostics, the Quest Diagnostics Foundation, and from Resolve to Save Lives, a global health initiative focused on helping advance scalable, proven strategies to prevent and address epidemics. To learn more visit ChooseHealthyLife.org.
About United Way for Southeastern Michigan: United Way for Southeastern Michigan, a member of the United Way Worldwide network and an independently governed 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, works to help households become stable and ensure children have the support they need to thrive. For more than 100 years, United Way has been a leader in creating positive, measurable, and sustainable change in communities throughout southeast Michigan. United Way works in partnership with donors, agencies, corporate and municipal partners to help families meet their basic needs of housing, food, health care and family finances, and ensure children start school ready to learn and graduate ready for life. To give, advocate, volunteer or learn more, visit UnitedWaySEM.org.