NEWARK, NJ — Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo Jr. announced a partnership with Latino clergy members to encourage residents in black and brown communities to receive the COVID-19 vaccination during a press conference at the Essex County COVID-19 vaccination center at Essex County College in Newark.
Joining the county executive at the event were clergy and other church representatives, including the Rev. Leslie Ramos, Sonia Ramos, Rigoberto Vega and Jesenia Rodriguez from La Hermosa Church in Newark; Pastors Victor M. Sanabria and Priscilla Sanabria, Jonathan Berrios, and Marlene Varela from Fuente de Vida Church; the Rev. Gisela Figueroa from Temple Rock of My Salvation in Newark; Father Luis Vargas from Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Newark; the Rev. Jorge Acosta and Lillian Pichardo from Our Lady of Good Counsel in Newark; Pastor Israel Borrero and Pastor Jazmyn Borrero from Iglesia Pentecostal Hombres y Mujeres in Newark; the Rev. Carmelo Figueroa from Iglesia Cristiana La Hermosa in Newark; the Rev. Francisco Martinez from Palabra Verdadera Church in Newark; the Rev. Emanuel Pierre from Iglesia de Dios Pentecostal Liberacion in Newark; the Rev. Ruben Sanchez from the Sower Pentecostal Church in Newark; the Rev. Carlos Perez from the Church of God of Prophecy/Newark Community Church in Newark; the Rev. Ariel Torres from Iglesia de Dios Pentecostal Sinai in Newark; the Rev. Candido Perez from Iglesia Nueva Criatura en Cristo in Newark; and the Rev. Roberto Comesanas from Grace and Kingdom Christian Center in Newark.
“We want to make sure that anyone who wants to take the vaccine has access to it when their turn is called. People hold their religious leaders in high regard and often turn to their faith leaders for direction when they have concerns about things happening in their communities. By partnering with leaders from our faith-based community, we are hoping to demonstrate to residents how safe getting the vaccination is,” DiVincenzo said. “Our efforts will only be successful if at least 70 percent of the population receives the vaccination and herd immunity is developed.”
“Black and brown communities in our urban areas were the most affected during the pandemic. Many are essential workers, working in restaurants or supermarkets. While the vast majority of the population stayed home, they went to work. We thank the clergy for partnering with us to get the message out and to assure their congregations that vaccinations are safe,” state Sen. and Essex County Deputy Chief of Staff Teresa Ruiz said.
Referring to a Bible verse, the Rev. Leslie Ramos said, “People perish because of the lack of knowledge. I am encouraging our community to get vaccinated, because getting vaccinated is safe and the best way to put an end to the virus. We must continue to keep our guard up and continue with protocols for the betterment of our lives.”
“God has given us these vaccines to defeat the virus. I have been vaccinated and I feel more confident. I encourage our community to get vaccinated,” the Rev. Jorge Acosta said.
“I am a COVID survivor and I have been vaccinated,” the Rev. Gisela Figueroa said. “It’s important that we get vaccinated for the health and safety of our families.”
“The virus is alive and well and the vaccines are the kryptonite. We are proud to join with the clergy to help us defeat this virus,” Essex County Board of County Commissioners President Wayne Richardson said.
Residents can make vaccination appointments at www.essexcovid.org or by calling 973-877-8456.
Photos Courtesy of Essex County