Jay-Z and Meek Mill are committed to help during the coronavirus pandemic. The two rappers’ criminal justice reform organization will be sending nearly 100,000 surgical masks to correctional facilities across the country, including Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman and Rikers Island in New York City, it has been announced today.
REFORM Alliance, in which the two label mates have been actively involved with, joined forces with advocate Shaka Senghor to send about 100,000 surgical masks to various prisons as states suffer from a shortage of medical supplies to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. They will send 40,000 masks to the Tennessee Department of Corrections, 5,000 masks to Parchman and 50,000 to Rikers, and another 2,500 to a Rikers medical facility.
Covid hitting family members and friends Now… go in the house!
— Meek Mill (@MeekMill) April 2, 2020
Rikers is one of the largest prison complexes in the world and has suffered from a surge of cases in New York, which has become the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States. As of Thursday, a reported 231 inmates and 223 staff members at New York City jails have been infected with the virus.
“We are on the verge of a humanitarian crisis,” Jessica Jackson, chief political officer at REFORM Alliance, said in a statement to ABC News. “There are horror stories coming from people in jails and prisons across the country. REFORM Alliance is seeking help to get medical supplies into correctional facilities, and we’re also pushing Governors across the country to enact our SAFER Plan recommendations to get people out quickly and safely.”
“Overwhelmingly the response was, ‘please provide the masks, we really need them.’ They want to protect the people working and living in the facilities,” Jackson added to CBS. “I think Rikers Island especially, they are very aware the virus has hit and so many lives are now at risk.”
Earlier this week, Jay-Z and Rihanna donated $1 million each for Coronavirus relief efforts to support undocumented workers, the children of frontline healthworkers and first responders, and incarcerated, elderly and homeless populations in New York City and Los Angeles