Virtual Town Hall aims to address minority challenges in COVID-19 pandemic

Posted at 8:21 PM, Apr 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-21 20:21:52-04

St. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Minority communities are some of the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Tuesday, St. Petersburg leaders joined in a virtual town hall meeting to address some of these issues.

Health experts say minority residents face additional challenges and risks during the COVID-19 pandemic that put them at a disadvantage in keeping themselves and their families safe.

"The social determinant of health and the persistent stresses that come with systematic racism and other equity issues that we fight, are only exasperated in times of crisis like these," said Dr. Kanika Tomalin, St. Petersburg Deputy Mayor.

Some of those struggles include access to health care, COVID-19 testing, and funding.

"The fragility and vulnerability of a culture that's been suppressed by centuries of discrimination plays out," said Randall Russell, Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg.

Which is why the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg hosted a panel of experts and advisors in a two-part virtual town hall meeting to address these issues.

The first part focused on sharing important health information with more than 300 listeners who called in to attend the meeting.

The second was to share economic resources, including how to apply for grants in the St. Pete area like the Fighting Chance and One Community grants available to help small businesses impacted by COVID-19.

"We’re letting everyone know, particularly the hardest-hit communities of color that we’re here for you and we’ll help you navigate through this and we will come back from this together," said Tomalin.

For more information on the Fighting Chance Fund visit

For more information on the Tampa Bay Resilience Fund grant visit