By Tyria McCray
President Joseph R. Biden traveled to Raleigh, North Carolina for the first time since taking office in 2021. During his national month of action, President Biden’s main priority was to strongly encourage the people of North Carolina to get the Covid-19 vaccine. Biden’s top priority is to have 70% of adults fully vaccinated by July 4, 2021. Biden visited Green Road Community Center in north Raleigh on Thursday afternoon, amongst the few hundred people were volunteers and front-line workers that have helped administer the Covid vaccine.
Air Force One landed at Raleigh-Durham International Airport at 3:45 p.m. President Biden was greeted by North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper and EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan on the tarmac. His motorcade then went on to the Green Road Community Center in north Raleigh in which he arrived at 4:24 pm.
Excited supporters lined the streets to welcome the president’s arrival to Raleigh.
High officials and local dignitaries were in attendance Thursday afternoon to hear the president expound on the importance of the Covid vaccine. Pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church and Co-Chair of the Poor People’s Campaign; Reverend Dr. William J. Barber II sat front row alongside Wake County Sheriff Gerald M. Baker. North Carolina NAACP President Rev.
Anthony T. Spearmen was also in attendance. Mayor of Durham, Steve Schewel and Wake County Chair Commissioner Matt Calabria were front row eager to hear President Biden.
Spearheading the event, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper made a profound statement, “
North Carolina is lowest in deaths and job loss per capita and that’s a good thing but we are still not where we need to be!We will get this done.”
Ive Jones, a Raleigh native who is currently pursuing her studies at Princeton formally introduced President Biden at the event. Jones recently joined forces with North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services to administer masks and the Covid vaccine information to the McDougald Terrace Community in Durham, North Carolina. Once introduced, President Biden addressed the country encouraging the Covid-19 vaccine.
The North Carolina department of health reported only about 55% of adults have only the first dose of the vaccine. However, Wake County states that only 70% of adults have at least the first dose. Biden used the Fourth of July celebration to encourage people to get vaccinated so they can safely enjoy the holiday.“ Folks, let this be a summer of joy and freedom, let’s celebrate the Fourth of July with the independence from the virus” Biden stated to a cheering crowd. Biden highlighted the severity of the virus and also the importance of the vaccine. Biden went on to address the delta variant which is a variant of Covid-19 virus, is now the most common variant in America which means unvaccinated people are more vulnerable to it. Spreading rapidly in some regions, the delta variant is considered to be more dangerous by causing more severe sickness which is mainly affecting younger people.
“ The more we close the gap on vaccination rates, the more lives we can save,” Biden stated to a cheering crowd inside the community center. “ We’ve lost 600,000 people in America, that’s more than every life lost in World War 1, World War 2, Vietnam, and Iraq” which came as a shock to some but also an eye opener. Biden also spoke on the racial gap within the vaccines. Approximately 58% of the vaccines administered have gone to people of color and that makes a substantial difference. Nonetheless, people of color accounted for more than half of the vaccinations in the last month. “The more we close the gap on vaccination rates, the more lives we can save,” Biden stated.
A pediatrician with WakeMed, Dr. Rasheeda Monroe, spoke with the President about a group of black physicians that have helped administer the vaccine to 14,000 people in underserved communities in the Raleigh area. “We worked with community partners, Black churches, HBCUs [and] Latinx churches to get the community to bring the vaccine to them,” Monroe stated. There are many barriers that people of color face such as healthcare access, transportation, internet access, healthy eating, etc. Therefore, it is important that those individuals see themselves in the physicians and gain trust that they are accurately doing their job and also caring for the community.
Nonetheless, President Biden proclaimed one simple statement, “ Don’t put it off any longer. Just do it. Just do it.”