Black Lives Matter activists have turned on New York City’s leadership over what they claim are racist COVID-19 vaccine requirements.
In New York everyone over the age of 12 will be required to show proof of vaccination to enter many New York City indoor activities such as restaurants, movie theaters, and gyms. This new requirement—called the Key to NYC—requires proof of vaccination with at least one dose of an FDA- or WHO-authorized COVID-19 vaccine to enter a variety of indoor spaces (Columbia University, New York).
Racial breakdowns of vaccination data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show only around 30 percent of Black Americans are fully vaccinated. This means vaccine requirements disproportionately impact the Black community, Hawk Newsome, the co-founder of Black Lives Matter Greater New York told Newsweek. His group is not affiliated with the Black Lives Matter Global Network.
Newsome, who organized a protest outside Carmine’s earlier this week, pointed to recent data showing that less than half of the city’s Black residents between the ages of 18 and 44 are vaccinated. “That means that you’re excluding a tremendous amount of Black New Yorkers, from engaging in everyday actions,” he said.
President Joe Biden‘s announcement of vaccine mandates, after previously vowing to not take the step, has fueled further mistrust, according to Newsome. “I’m not an anti-vaxxer. I’m no Fox News-watching conservative. Many Black people are not, they just do not trust this vaccine,” Newsome, who is unvaccinated, added. The president “made a lot of promises to us around all the Black Lives Matter movement, but he hasn’t taken any substantial steps on that front,” Newsome said.