Wed | Oct 28, 2020

#WeAreInThisTogether against COVID-19 - Bay-C, ListenMiNews, Red Cross collaborate on anti-stigma music video

Published:Sunday | May 17, 2020 | 8:32 AMKimberley Small/Staff Reporter

IN AN effort to alleviate misconceptions and misinterpretations of our current COVID-19 reality, and to create the idea that human beings deserve respect, especially when they are ill, ListenMi News has collaborated with the International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC) and Red Crescent Societies to release a music video, featuring international reggae and dancehall star Bay-C. Anchored by #WeAreInThisTogether, the message in the music is familiar, and comes as a timely addition to reggae music’s expanse into edutainment as the pandemic thrives, and so does discrimination along with it.

“It is a very scary thing for many people. They are scared either on the side of not wanting to be around anyone who may have this disease or on the other side where they may think they have the disease and are scared to go out and get tested,” Bay-C said, during the virtual launch of the music video on Monday. He observed: “Most of us are looking at it from two main areas, health and economic impact. However, there’s a social impact that we have to look at.”

Walter Cotte Witingan, regional director for the Americas IFRC, was also present at the virtual video launch, endorsing this sentiment.

FEAR AND MISTRUST

“We know that in the past, outbreaks have created big fear and mistrust. This can increase the spread of disease and hamper all response efforts. There have been many cases of people hiding illness and preventing themselves from seeking immediate care to avoid discrimination. We need to really be able to say which information is good and correct to create positive thinking and action, and protect ourselves and our communities,” the director said.

Bay-C went on to reference the tragedy which befell Jodian Fearon and her family. “Many of us in Jamaica would know of a recent case, where somebody specifically was discriminated against, seemingly, from different health institutions. It shows the danger of discriminating, of not having the facts.”

ListenMi News started out as an online news programme, with Bay-C, Icon (producer), Kenia Mattis and Eugene Ffolkes as founding members. “Somewhere along the line, we started to venture into using it as a tool for organisations to communicate, like One Health, UWI, PAHO and private-sector organisations, like Scotiabank.”

He continued: “This is just another great opportunity that we are very humbled to receive, to have a partnership with another very established and reputable organisation such as Red Cross.”

The Red Cross team returned Bay-C complimentary remarks. “We do consider that this partnership is exactly what is needed at this time in our battle against this pandemic. We are now facing the prospect where the fight against COVID-19 in local communities is being made much more difficult than it needs to be by way of rumours and fake news,” said Kevin Douglas, project manager at Red Cross in Jamaica.

“We know that good, factual and effectively communicated information is one of the most important ways to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and keep people safe,” he added.

kimberley.small@gleanerjm.com