You should know that during this COVID-19 pandemic, Hispanics and African American communities have been the most affected and those who have suffered a greater loss of lives in the City of New York.
The reasons for this, is that these communities too often are underserved. When our communities are faced with dire situations and there is a need and a call to action, our leader’s response to the emergency is to create a commission to investigate the cause of the problem or emergency instead of taking immediate action. Unfortunately, in many cases such as this, a commission only serves to enable our leaders to give the appearance of taking action, when in reality what they are doing is what Pontius Pilate did. They wash their hands of the problem.
For decades we have seen this in our leader’s when it has come to handling the matters of immigration, health care, public education, jobs, housing, and now during this pandemic. Communities of color, predominately Black and Latino Communities are the most affected and neglected by its elected leaders.
You should know that Pastors, members of The New York Hispanic Clergy Organization, have been offering the City and State of New York the use of their temples, as available facilities, to use as COVID-19 testing locations. These are temples that are situated in the heart of communities of color making them accessible for the residents of these minority communities.
In Bronx County, Rev. Roberto Lopez, Pastor of the Assemblies of God Church John 3:16, located at 864 Westchester Avenue in Bronx County, has been offered to help facilitate COVID-19 testing sites to both Mayor Bill DeBlasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo.
In Brooklyn County Bishop Nicolas Angustia Pastor of “The Revival United Mennonite Church” located at 390 Melrose Avenue corner of Knickerbocker Avenue, has also offered his facilities to also use for COVID-19 testing site.
These facilities, both John 3:16 in the Bronx and the Mennonite Church in Brooklyn, again, are Churches located in the heart of minority communities and both have spacious facilities that are easily accessible to its residents. For weeks both of these Pastors and other clergy members have patiently waited for a response to discuss the use and logistics from the municipal and state authorities.
This would greatly help these minority communities. To accomplish this no commissions are needed. What was needed is what was done recently, which is to call and communicate with the pastors, and then take the necessary actions and move forward to provide our people with this much needed and vital health service.
It is important for you to know that recently the Church John 3:16 has been selected as a site for COVID-19 testing. Testing is scheduled to begin Wednesday, May 13, 2020, by appointment only. You can call 833-422-7369 (833-4-CARE-NY) to obtain an appointment.
I also take this opportunity to acknowledge the work of Rev. Meily de Olmo Pastor of the Spanish Evangelical Church located at 800 E. 156th Street (between Tinton and Union Avenue) in Bronx County who serves groceries every Friday to more than 500 community families.
I am Councilmember Rev. Rubén Díaz, Sr. and this is what you should know.