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Mask Up and Live Memphis
Mask Up Memphis launches website and social media challenge to encourage African Americans to wear masks to reduce the spread of COVID-19
Posted on 06/22/2020
As COVID-19 spreads across the nation, news reports often highlight the disproportionate numbers of cases and fatalities among African Americans. In Memphis and Shelby County, close to 60 percent of COVID-19 fatalities and cases are among African Americans. In response to this crisis, two Tennessee legislators, Representative Karen Camper and Senator Raumesh Akbari want to help dispel misinformation regarding wearing masks to help flatten the curve of COVID-19 cases among African Americans in Memphis. 

Mask Up and Live Memphis“We must take unprecedented measures because we are living through unprecedented times. And the keyword is ‘living,” said Representative Karen Camper (D-87). “When we limit exposure and wear a mask, we protect our families—especially our seniors—who are so very vulnerable to this disease.  I am so very proud to be part of the Mask UP and Live team and encourage you to join with us in making sure everyone has a mask and wears it.” 

 “Wearing a mask shows that you respect the people around you,” said Senator Raumesh Akbari. “A mask honors their right to live and to be healthy, and that’s why everyone should mask up.” 

 The “Mask Up and Live” campaign launched in Chicago in April and stresses to African Americans the importance of wearing masks, and the Mask Up Memphis campaign will echo the same sentiment.

“Memphis always answers the call when needed, and we must make sure that we stay healthy and vigilant in the face of this pandemic,” said James Smith, founder of Mask up Memphis. “I am honored to work with dedicated stakeholders to keep our city safe.” 

The Mask Up Memphis campaign consists of: 

  *  MASK UP 
An Informational website that highlights the importance of mask-wearing, how to wear a mask, and where to obtain a mask for free. The site also provides information on where to get tested and other safety tips. 

   *   Social Media Challenge:
For Memphians to upload selfies showing off their masks and including the hashtags #maskup  #maskupandlive, #maskupMemphis. Participants should also represent their neighborhoods and/or zip codes. The goal is to create a steady buzz of pictures on social making it trendy and commonplace to wear masks, in turn, decreasing COVID-19 cases among African Americans. 

   *   Mask Giveaways:
Mask Up Memphis will provide masks to residents that may not be able to afford one but want to do their part to be safe. Free mask pick-up and donation drop-off locations include: Memphis Public Libraries, MATA bus terminals, Southbrook Town Center, Pressure World, Lisa Akbari, The Hair Doctor, and Teaching Youth Entrepreneurship. 

For more information or to donate visit  

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