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Delaware NAACP meets with Gov. Carney over coronavirus response

State of Delaware

Like in other cities and states across the country, black Delawareans are being disproportionately affected by the coronavirus.

Gov. Carney discussed the issue with leaders of the Delaware NAACP State Conference of Branches last week.

The Delaware NAACP State Conference of Branches sent two lettersto the Governor last month requesting a meeting. NAACP leaders were pushing for strategies to slow the spread of the virus in minority communities, more safety measures for inmates, protections for essential workers,equitable access to education during the pandemic and support for minority-owned businesses.

Leaders of the organization got that meeting with Gov. John Carney, Department of Health and Social Services Secretary Dr. Kara Odom Walker and Secretary of Labor Cerron Cade Friday. 

“We focused on having the opportunity to meet, to discuss the components of our letter, and listen to the interventions and things that the Governor and members of his cabinet have put into operation, and to just reinforce some of the areas that we want looked into further,” said Delaware NAACP Vice President Freeman Williams.

Williams says it is important for officials to hear the organization’s perspective.

“As the process moves closer and closer to having to make a decision on opening up the state at some level, or not, to be able to do that you have to have all the information at your disposal, including the testing data and the impact it has on our respective communities up and down our state, and especially from our vantage point, the black communities,” he said. 

As of Sunday, 28 percent of the state’s known cases of the virus have been among non-Hispanic black Delawareans — more than any other racial or ethnic group. The per capita rate of cases is highest for Hispanic or Latino Delawareans. 

Gov. Carney said during a briefing last week the state has “a lot more work to do” on outreach to black communities. He noted the state has ramped up communications, resources and testing in communities of color, particularly Latino communities in Sussex County. 

A Carney spokesperson said Monday the Governor had a “good conversation” with the NAACP leaders and appreciates their efforts to keep Delawareans safe throughout the pandemic.


Sophia Schmidt is a Delaware native. She comes to Delaware Public Media from NPR’s Weekend Edition in Washington, DC, where she produced arts, politics, science and culture interviews. She previously wrote about education and environment for The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, MA. She graduated from Williams College, where she studied environmental policy and biology, and covered environmental events and local renewable energy for the college paper.
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