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Pop-up vaccination clinic Saturday at Spokane’s Black Lives Matter mural aims for ‘celebratory evening’

UPDATED: Fri., July 9, 2021

The Black Lives Matter mural on July 20, 2020, at 244 W. Main Ave.  (JESSE TINSLEY)
The Black Lives Matter mural on July 20, 2020, at 244 W. Main Ave. (JESSE TINSLEY)

On Saturday, local community organizations Terrain, The Carl Maxey Center and The Black Lens are hosting a pop-up coronavirus vaccination clinic at the Black Lives Matter Mural from 4 to 8 p.m.

The Black Lens founder Sandy Williams and Terrain’s founder and executive director, Ginger Ewing, received earlier this year a Better Health Together grant to host the vaccine clinic . At 244 West Main Avenue, the mural is a fitting location for the clinic, which will offer the Pfizer vaccine. Ewing said it’s a sure reminder of the issues surrounding COVID-19.

The National Urban League found the Black community was more than three times more likely to die from COVID complications due to pre-existing conditions and health-related instances at the height of the pandemic. Protesting for racial equality amid the pandemic was salt in the wound during Summer 2020.

“We thought the juxtaposition of the disproportionate impact COVID has had on Black lives and the mural location was perfect,” Ewing said. “We’re saying your health matters, your life matters and Black lives matter when we do an event like this.”

Only 42% of adults in Spokane County are fully vaccinated. Ewing sees this as an opportunity to eliminate vaccine inequities and strengthen local bonds. Jabs as a community gesture could soothe the worries and uncertainty people feel about the vaccine.

“Looking at vaccine equity, I think it’s really important to be very careful about the community organizations that are partnering with us and creating safe, welcoming (clinic) space,” Ewing said. “The U.S. has a medical history of trauma in communities of color, and that’s a very valid reason to not get vaccinated and want to receive more information. I think it’s really important to try to create opportunities for folks to get their questions answered.”

The Carl Maxey Center, The Black Lens and Terrain’s partnership to promote health during the pandemic has been almost a yearlong campaign. The Create Health campaign goal of educating communities of color about COVID resources and information has led to the vaccination site.

Back in March, Terrain and The Black Lens teamed up for another pop-up event, “Create Health,” with a mixed-media presentation breathing life into the mural through 3-D projections and digital coding. The organizations have whirled worlds together by ensuring the Spokane community can get vaccinated while enjoying each other’s company.

“Terrain’s role in all of this has been booking the bands and artists to lead activities,” Ewing said of the process. “Sandy and The Black Lens have really been leading the actual vaccination clinic side of things.”

Each of the 16 letters in the slogan was painted by different BIPOC artists to showcase inclusion. Terrain called on three of those muralists to return and host activities during the event. Other local communities such as Spectrum and Spokane Communities Against Racism will be in attendance providing community information and resources.

Those interested in vaccinations can preregister through Terrain’s social media sites, but walkups are allowed. Kung Fu Vinyl, The Dreaded Warrior and T.S. the Solution are performing, while Feast World Kitchen is providing free food and drinks while supplies last.

“We really want to understand that this is supposed to be a really fun, celebratory evening,” Ewing encouraged. “If you’re vaccinated and you still want to come down, please do. If one of your favorite artists are performing or you’d like a bite, don’t hesitate to enjoy everything we’re offering.”

Amber D. Dodd's work as the Carl Maxey Racial and Social Inequity reporter for Eastern Washington and North Idaho primarily appears in both The Spokesman-Review and The Black Lens newspapers, and is funded in part by the Michael Conley Charitable Fund, the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund, the Innovia Foundation and other local donors from across our community. This story can be republished by other organizations for free under a Creative Commons license. For more information on this, please contact our newspaper's managing editor.

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