The civil rights activist and former San Francisco 49ers quarterback announced on Twitter Thursday that he donated $100,000 to the fund.
“Structural racism makes Black & Brown ppl more likely to die from #COVID19,” he tweeted. “We’ve launched the Know Your Rights Camp COVID-19 Relief Fund to directly impact the disproportionate effect #coronavirus is having on our communities.”
Early data has shown that Black Americans are more likely to die from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, according to a Reuters report released earlier this month. The report findings reflect a history of systemic inequalities and structural racism that cause health disparities and limit access to medical care.
In New York City, preliminary data has shown that COVID-19 death tolls have disproportionately affected Black and Hispanic/Latino communities.
Black people, who account for 22% of the city’s population, represent 28% of those who have died from the virus, according to the Associated Press. Hispanic/Latino residents account for 34% of the city’s death toll, while comprising 29% of its population.
In Michigan, Black people account for 41% of the COVID-19 death toll even though Black residents make up just 14% of the state’s population.
In a video announcing his relief fund, Kaepernick noted that Black and Brown communities are “disproportionately devastated” by the coronavirus due to “hundreds of years of structural racism.”
The Know Your Rights Camp website highlights how a history of discrimination against Black and Brown communities in housing, employment, incarceration and other areas affect health outcomes during the coronavirus pandemic.
“We know that differences in education and job opportunities lead to chronic health problems in the long term, but the coronavirus is showing that they lead to health problems in the short term, too,” Hedwig Lee, a sociology professor at Washington University in St. Louis who studies racial disparities in health told HuffPost earlier this month.
David R. Williams, a Harvard University professor who researches race and health, said “African Americans are not doing poorly because of their genes, they’re doing poorly because of the policies we’ve created that constrain their access to resources.”
The Know Your Rights Camp relief fund aims to provide aid for food, education, shelter relief, personal protective equipment and to incarcerated populations, according to its website.
Kaepernick famously began kneeling during the national anthem at football games in 2016 to protest all forms of racial injustice. He has remained unsigned by any NFL team since he became a free agent after the 2016 season.