By Laura Haefeli

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Leaders in the African American community have written an open letter to Sacramento city officials demanding more resources be used to help them survive the coronavirus pandemic.

The African American COVID-19 Outreach Coalition’s demands include:

  • Opening multiple COVID-19 testing sites in areas where the target population can access them.
  • Improving access to health care services.
  • Establishing an African American Small Business Investment Fund.
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The city of Sacramento received a nearly $90 million stimulus check from the federal government just last week, and coalition leaders are hoping they see some of the money.

“Mayor Steinberg has been talking to members of our community, groups of our community about how we should be spending that money. I hope that he’s hearing folks say things that are important,” Derrell Roberts of Roberts Family Development Center said.

The mayor offices said they are committed to using the stimulus money on building economic growth and equity in the neighborhoods.

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The outreach coalition says it will continue to work to educate and care for their community by practicing social distancing and passing out masks, with help from community organizations like Bayside Midtown Church.

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“It’s important for everyone to be educated no matter where you live, understand the seriousness of the virus,” Roberts said.

Del Paso Heights is one of Sacramento’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods, and community leaders say the people who live there are disproportionately affected by the coronavirus and need help.

“The history of African-Americans within the United States is a dire one,” Pastor Tecoy Porter said.

Pastor Porter says the community’s fight against coronavirus is no different.

“This COVID thing can just exasperate that disparity,” he said. “As more tests become available we need to make sure we get those tests in the proper places.“

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In a statement, the Sacramento Department of Public Health said, “At this time, we do not have have the capacity to test general population, non-symptomatic persons, that have no known exposure, just for the sake of testing.”