A coalition of prominent civil rights and black religious leaders is urging African American residents who live in states that are moving swiftly to reopen their economies to stay home in defiance of governors until there's evidence the coronavirus outbreak has eased.
The group, convened by the Conference of National Black Churches and Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network, said some governors are demonstrating "reckless disregard for the health and life of black residents" and called for black churches and businesses to remain closed in those states until there's evidence that it's safe to resume more normal activity.
"We do not take it lightly to encourage members of our communities to defy the orders of state governors," the officials said in a statement. "Our sacred duty is to support and advance the life and health of Black people, families and communities in our country."
Top officials with the NAACP, the National Urban League and the National Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law are among the groups joining the stay-at-home message.
Covid-19 has cut a particularly deadly path through African American communities. Figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show black patients have made up nearly 20% US coronavirus deaths, although African Americans make up about 13% of the nation's population.