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Community leaders launch new group to help minority communities fight back against COVID-19

Gwen McKenzie, with the help of community, health and faith leaders launched a new group to help communities of color fight back against COVID-19.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn — Gwen McKenzie along with Knoxville’s Urban League, NAACP and other organizations launched a new “healthcare workgroup" on Monday;. 

The job of the workgroup, for now, is helping minority communities fight back against COVID-19.

"This is critical our community is adversely affected we are making sure that those who need the shots will get the shots, we're not going to be at the back of the line anymore" said Vivian Shipe, founder of “I Am The Voice of the Voiceless.”

Knoxville leaders say they're stronger if they work together towards this common goal.

"Today is incredibly important, incredibly powerful to see this many people and organizations, represented from our community that are committed to making sure accurate COVID-19 information is disseminated,” McKenzie said.

Vice mayor Gwen McKenzie says it’s time to start trusting the science so lives can be saved,

"It is safe to take so many people in our communit,y not just here in Knoxville but nationally of color who have taken the vaccine, and it's so important that now we know we can trust the science and we need to get vaccinated," said McKenzie

The event happening hours before the first Black student to integrate UT, Theotis Robinson Jr., stepped up to get his vaccination.

"I feel awesome, Getting the vaccine as I see it is a safe way to do it and we need to do it for our families, our love ones for our community" said Robinson Jr.

Dr. Keith Gray, Chief Medical Officer of UTMC says he'd expect nothing less of Robinson

"Mr. Robinson as I explained earlier continues to do what he's done his whole life, is to be a trailblazer," said Gray.