A few months after announcing its $25 million commitment to social justice the Boston Celtics recently hosted a roundtable entitled, "Spread the Health: A discussion on the COVID-19 vaccine and healthcare mistrust in the Black community."
The conversation, moderated by NBC Sports Boston's Abby Chin, included Dr. Charles Anderson, president of the Dimock Center in Roxbury, and Dr. Joseph Betancourt, the senior vice president of equity and community health at Massachusetts General Hospital. Also on the panel were Celtics legend and radio announcer Cedric Maxwell, along with current Celtics players Tacko Fall and Grant Williams.
Among the pillars laid out in the team's initiative for tackling racial injustice was health equity. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Celtics have been focused on education in the Black community while keeping in mind historical experiences that have caused distrust in the Black community.
Allison Feaster, the first Black person, and woman to be the vice president of player development for an NBA team, has been very active with the development and execution of this Celtics initiative. She shared why heath equity was important to add to the list of priorities.
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"On the one hand, we have this racial pandemic going on in our country. On the other hand, COVID-19 has ravaged our nation and the globe. You marry the two and this equity and health care pillar attempts to tackle some of those issues. We have three dedicated co-leads who are spearheading that effort, and this 'Spread the Health' panel, really, for us, was a great effort at helping address some of those issues in the Black community."
Feaster shared that Williams has already received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. During the panel, he explained why he thought it was so crucial.
"I don't want to be that person where my career is over because of the fact that I didn't necessarily take the steps to prevent and protect myself. I don't want to be that person that drops the ball for those around me. Not only thinking about my own health, it's about the people around me. I want to protect them as much as I do myself."
One of the goals is for people of color to listen to what the panelists have to say while further educating themselves on the importance of vaccination.
"At the end of the day, we're going to all have some kind of protection against this vaccine so we can move on with our lives, so that's what we hope," Feaster said.