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Campaigner launches fundraiser to support BAME communities affected by coronavirus

PUBLISHED: 08:46 23 April 2020 | UPDATED: 08:58 23 April 2020

Patrick Vernon OBE. Picture: Ken Mears

Patrick Vernon OBE. Picture: Ken Mears

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A fundraiser has been launched to support members of the Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities who have lost loved ones to coronavirus.

The Majonzi Fund – Majonzi means grief or deep sorrow in Swahili – has been set up by activist and former Hackney councillor Patrick Vernon OBE and the Ubele Initiative, an African diaspora led social enterprise that has turned its attention to the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on BAME communities.

Figures from NHS England show 16.2 per cent of hospital patients who died after testing positive for coronavirus were of BAME backgrounds, while BAME people make up just 10.8% of the UK population (according to the 2011 census).

The fund will help offer small grants to families, friends, colleagues and faith groups so they can organise memorial events and tributes to their lost loved ones once the lockdown has ended.

Patrick, who lost his sister’s partner to coronavirus earlier this month, said: “We already know a lot of frontline staff from transport, the NHS, care homes and retail, especially from BAME backgrounds, have died as part of their role and duty in making us safe and delivering key services without the necessary PPE.

“Covid-19 is having a significant impact on households in Britain, especially those from BAME communities.

“When you lose a family member like I have you realise the importance of their contribution to society and its impact on families and work colleagues as part of the grieving process. This fund with the support of the public can make a small difference to families and communities affected by Covid-19.”

The target is to raise £10,000, which could also pay for individuals to access bereavement counselling and therapy that reflects religious and cultural diversity through a platform called Auntie.

To donate to the fund, click here.

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