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Local artists team up with Medical College of Wisconsin to educate communities about COVID-19

Posted at 6:22 AM, Feb 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-08 07:22:39-05

MILWAUKEE — It’s no secret that statistics show Milwaukee’s Black and brown communities have seen the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Black people make up 6.4 percent of the state's population and 12 percent of all the state's COVID-19 hospitalizations.

The Hispanic community makes up 7 percent of the population and about 10 percent of hospitalizations.

The numbers are a big part of why a team of people from all different backgrounds, came together.

“We were tasked with creating a message about stopping the spread of COVID-19,” said Que El-Amin

El-Amin is a Milwaukee native and entrepreneur. He partnered with the Medical College of Wisconsin, birthing the Creative Health Collective. It’s an assembly of medical pros, small business owners, and artists adding a true Milwaukee touch to a campaign aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19.

“I think the imagery is important because it really touches you more. So if it's something you relate to, you would react better,” El-Amin said.

One of the elements of the campaign included music. “Mask On It” is a Song by Milwaukee's Ray Nitti and 14 other Milwaukee-bred artists.

“I really make work to inspire people from where I’m from. Specifically, north side Milwaukee,” said artist Rontaye “Tay” Butler.

Butler is also a Milwaukee native.

He is an artist specializing in collages, now living in Houston. His contribution created nearly 1,100 miles away, sits on the McGovern Park basketball courts.

It’s simply called “McGov.”

Every basketball player seen in the art there has on a mask.

“I just wanted to do my part to... make it cool. I guess,” he explained.

Butler said he’s seen many family members impacted by COVID-19. Despite the distance, he’s hoping the art he’s sending art back home to the city that raised him, helps in some way.

“The bottom line is that it’s affecting Black Milwaukee in a very major way. So, I didn’t wanna just sit back and do nothing,” Butler said.

El-Amin said he believes, over time, trust will be built between communities of color and those within the medical arena, but it starts with building a genuine connection and a relationship he hopes to help establish.

“I this it’s a great opportunity for the medical industry to gain trust and you just gotta remember it takes time,” he said.

For more information about the Creative Health Collective and to find resources, visit its website here.

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