JAY -Z and Meek Mill are stepping up for those locked down in the prison system.
On Friday (Apr.3), the REFORM Alliance announced that its cofounders JAY-Z, Meek Mill, Robert Kraft, Michael Rubin, and others, are teaming up with New York Times‘ best selling author Shaka Senghor to ship roughly 100,000 masks to prisons across the United States. The goal is to help women and men locked down in prisons during the coronavirus pandemic.
The announcement comes on heels of the news that New York City’s Rikers Island has seen a spike in the number of people infected with COVID-19. As of right now, 231 inmates, and 223 staff members tested positive for the coronavirus. The prison will receive 50,000 masks, with another 2,500 being sent to Rikers’ medical staff.
40,000 masks will be sent to the Tennessee Department of Corrections and will be distributed to different facilities across the state. Mississippi State Penitentiary will receive 5,000 masks.
Shaka Senghor spoke on why inmates must be protected during the growing coronavirus pandemic:
“During these moments of uncertainty, the one thing I am certain of is that we can share resources with the less fortunate. “These are mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters behind bars. They are as much a part of the human family as we are.”
REFORM Alliance CEO, Van Jones spoke on how severe the situation could become in the country’s prison system:
“Governors and people who run jails and prisons in this country need to take the pandemic in Rikers as a warning. We’re in danger of seeing prisons coast-to-coast turn into morgues. It is important to get medical supplies in, and it is equally important to get more human beings out. REFORM Alliance is working on both.”
Jessica Jackson, Chief Advocacy Officer at REFORM Alliance added:
“We are on the verge of a humanitarian crisis. There are heartbreaking accounts coming from people in jails and prisons across the country. Also, let’s not forget: tens of thousands of sick people flooding out of our prisons could overwhelm our hospitals—making things worse for everyone. REFORM Alliance is pushing Governors across the country to enact our SAFER Plan recommendations to get people out quickly and safely. We are also working to help to get medical supplies into correctional facilities for those still inside. Please help us at REFORMAlliance.com.”
JAY-Z has already been active in the fight to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Earlier this week, Hov and Rihanna announced both the Shawn Carter Foundation and Clara Lionel Foundation would be donating $2 million collectively to aid coronavirus related response efforts.
Other big names in the Hip-Hop world have stepped up as well. DJ Khaled announced he will be donating 10,000 masks to healthcare workers in New York City and Miami.
Future’s FreeWishes Foundation is partnering with Atlanta Sewing Style to provide masks for workers and patients affected during the pandemic. Quavo launched a fundraiser on his 29th birthday to help healthcare professionals on the frontlines in hospitals located in Los Angeles and Atlanta.
Hip-Hop truly cares.
Photo: Kevin Mazur / Getty