Partnership includes Cincinnati City Councilmember Jan-Michele Lemon Kearney, Center for Closing the Health Gap, African American Chamber, Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio, and the Cincinnati NAACP


Jan-Michele Lemon Kearney. Photo provided

A coalition of leading voices and non-profits serving Cincinnati’s African American and other underserved and marginalized populations has launched a new website resource for COVID-19 news and updates. The site can be accessed at

Initiated by Cincinnati City Councilmember Jan-Michele Lemon Kearney and President & CEO of the Center for Closing the Health Gap Renee Mahaffey Harris, the partnership also includes the Greater Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky African American Chamber of Commerce, the Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio, and the Cincinnati NAACP. Content will focus on everything from the most critical health updates around testing, urgent care and medications to news about unemployment, job openings, volunteering and advocacy. The site launch comes as the state braces for Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s order requiring all Ohioans to stay in their homes to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. The order begins at 11:59 p.m. today, March 23, and goes until 11:59 p.m. on April 6, 2020.

“This crisis is moving so rapidly day by day that it can be difficult to really understand how it’s affecting people and what we need to do,” said Councilmember Kearney. “There is a lot of information to process from our government leaders, health officials and local businesses who are stepping up to help. This is one small way to give our most vulnerable populations some help and direction to parse through the noise of over communication and misinformation. We’ve never seen anything like this. It will take a team effort to get us through, and we will get through this together.”

Renee Mahaffey Harris. Photo provided

Built and hosted by the Health Gap, the site has been created so that other local leaders and non-profits can also contribute important content as the crisis continues to evolve. Content can be submitted at

“Collectively, we serve thousands of people in underserved and marginalized communities and neighborhoods across the region,” said Mahaffey Harris, president and CEO of the Center for Closing the Health Gap. “These residents are bearing a disproportionate share of the burden related to this unprecedented crisis, and we needed a resource that could educate and benefit those families. Certainly, the physical health and well-being of our neighbors is the top priority, but there are also other monumental issues we’re all wrestling with – financial, employment, childcare, mental health, and so much more.”

Eddie Koen, president and CEO of Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio, added: “The African American community and other underrepresented minorities are likely to suffer the brunt of the health and economic impacts of the coronavirus crisis and it is imperative that organizations and funders who serve them come together with targeted tactics and strategies to mitigate the impact.”

Eddie Koen. Photo provided

The site was developed quickly in response to mounting questions and concerns from elderly residents and those who suffer from underlying medical conditions.

“During this COVID-19 pandemic our collective constituencies have looked to our organizations for answers and assistance,” said Robert Richardson, president of the Cincinnati NAACP. “This website is an effort to provide information about how to access available resources.”

Ralph Richardson. Photo provided

The impact has also been crushing for local minority small businesses. “The African American Chamber is excited to join this effort to provide high-quality information to the community,” said Chamber president and CEO Eric Kearney. “The Black Business Community is supportive of these efforts to keep people and their families informed and safe.”

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