White House to meet with TN faith, non-profit leaders on vaccine hesitancy

White House to meet with TN faith, non-profit leaders on vaccine hesitancy

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“Vaccine hesitancy in Memphis is pretty bad," Momentum Nonprofits CEO Kevin Dean said. "Numbers are embarrassingly low. The fact that the White House is trying to reach out and work on a local community level I think is really important because you can’t do everything from the top you have to rely on a lot of different coalitions.”

Dean was invited to speak at the meeting to talk about the importance of non-profit voices, share resources, talk about what efforts are underway and what help they need. Momentum Nonprofits is a collective that serves many non-profits throughout the Mid-South. The goal, Dean said, is to show more collaboration between government and non-profits is needed.

“Government needs to rely heavier on non-profits, a trusted voice in the community," he said. "We have daily interactions with the people most affected by this. They’re going to listen to us re they listen to somebody who comes into their community from the outside government official or whomever.”

He said the pandemic has been a teaching moment that non-profits need to be invited to the table at the beginning.

"Not at the end, when we can’t get vaccinated but at the beginning, so we can give feedback, we can speak on behalf of the communities we serve and we can talk about the strategies we’re already doing that maybe can be replicated," he said.

Dean said one hope of the meeting is to help national efforts to start a White House non-profit liaison department that can help serve as a guiding light.

“If we can really show them how important non-profits are in this and tackling other big issues we might end up with a new department that actually might be the coordinating efforts between non-profits and government," he said.

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ABC 24
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