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New relief fund aims to help black communities affected by COVID-19 in Cook County

ABC 7 Chicago logo ABC 7 Chicago 4/9/2020 ABC 7 Chicago Digital Team

Cook County's Black Chamber of Commerce is starting its own relief fund to help those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The effort was launched in response to Mayor Lori Lightfoot's announcement that 72% of deaths from COVID-19 in Chicago were African American.

"When I watched the news conference on Monday, I started having all kinds of emotions, from sadness to anger, to frustration," Cook County Black Chamber of Commerce Founder Andrea 'Siri' Hibbler said in a statement. "There was no way, I was going to sit-back and allow fear, and death to continue to overcome the people in our black communities, without trying to help implement more preventative measures."

RELATED: Chicago coronavirus cases are mostly African Americans, Mayor Lori Lightfoot says

The COVID-19 African American Relief Fund will provide grants to small business owners, help seniors get fresh food and distribute information in predominantly African American communities. It'll also donate safety gear and clothing to frontline workers and provide emergency housing for homeless and low-income families affected by the crisis.

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"Millions of dollars have been sent into African American communities from corporations and the federal government for decades, yet somehow, none of these funds have actually made it into the communities in Chicago, which has to date, caused a significant increase in poverty, lack of access to healthcare, jobs, fresh produce, affordable housing and economic opportunities," Hibbler said.

For more information on the new fund, visit the Cook County Black Chamber of Commerce website.


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