By Josephine Reid

A boots on the ground approach to health in the Black community was accomplished at a joint community health fair on the grounds of historic Kelly Ingram Park in Birmingham. Civil Rights monuments and historical buildings served as the backdrop to what can be looked at as an historical moment in action.

The health fair featured well-living information, an expert panel of doctors, health screenings, live music and COVID-19 vaccinations, all free of cost. Anyone in attendance or just walking by had the opportunity to gather information and resources to make an informed decision on receiving the vaccine. A gentlemen on his bike overheard a conversation from event leaders which inspired his decision to walk up to the vaccination tent, get information and get vaccinated.

Stories like this and others set the tone of the kind of impact that was made during such a crucial event for this community.

“My pastor often says that faith comes by hearing. When I think of that I think about repetition, and we learn by hearing, hearing and hearing. So, the more we are out in the community, the more we are sharing information about COVID, COVID vaccines, and just about health and wellness in general. We’ll maybe inspire at least one person who will inspire another person and so on,” said Lindsey Harris, DNP, FNP-BC, and President of Alabama State Nurses Association.

Jennifer J. Coleman, Ph.D., RN, CNE, COI, also a member of the Alabama State Nurses Association had similar thoughts. “I think the key to all of this is what we’re doing now. We’ve got to be out in the spaces where all of the people are so they can see people that look like us and we can listen to them, and provide accurate information, and acknowledge people’s right to be scared. When we look, talk and have the same experience they are having, I think we can reach more people. We can’t just sit in our vaccine clinics. We’ve got to go out in the community where people are.”

Eighty-four total vaccinations were administered at the event. This event created easy access that some people in the community would not otherwise have. The fair created a safe space that led to not only conversation, but action.

“Events like this let people know we care,” said Alpha Kappa Alpha event leader.

Well over fifteen local organizations came out to put on the event. The sense of a village coming together for the overall good of its people was felt not only this day, but also in its positive lingering effects as a result of everyone’s efforts.

Learn more about COVID-19 vaccines by visiting

Josephine Reid is a member of the Public Relations Team at Creative Marketing Resources, a strategic marketing agency in Milwaukee and a partner of the COBB Institute.