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Lyft forms partnership with Black organizations to provide accessible transportation

Ridesharing app Lyft announced an initiative that would provide 1.5 million rides to make transportation accessible to underserved communities. The company joined forces with 11 organizations including The National Urban League, BlackWomen’s Roundtable and the NAACP.

The LyftUp Access Alliance program’s main goal is to support members of the Black community affected by COVID-19 through offering transportation to essential services like job interviews, grocery stores, COVID testing sites and other destinations.

According to details provided by Lyft, the company and its LyftUp programs will provide access to rides in the form of cars, bikes and scooters through 2024.

Multiple factors such as chronic health conditions, essential working positions and living environments contribute to why COVID-19 affects people of color more than White people according to a report from John Hopkins Medicine.
As of Aug. 18, the American Public Media Research Lab reported that Black Americans continue to maintain the highest COVID-19 mortality rates, 1 in 1, with 125 dying from the disease.

“The current health crisis has disproportionately impacted communities of color; it’s also given us a clear look at the systemic barriers that stand in the way of social and economic empowerment for Black communities specifically,” Anthony Foxx, chief policy officer at Lyft and former secretary of transportation under President Obama said in a press release. “While Lyft’s social impact work has always aimed to provide access in underserved communities, the need for a focus on Black communities cannot be overstated.”

Former Senior Adviser to President Obama and LyftUp Access Alliance Chair Valerie Jarrett said in a press release that the program is intended to “remove barriers” stemmed from the coronavirus.

The National Urban League and My Brother’s Keeper Alliance are founding partners in the LyftUp Access Alliance program. National Urban League President and CEO Marc Morial said that a combination of the coronavirus pandemic and protests rallying for better treatment of Black people in America has brought a “sharper focus” to racial disparities in America.

“Lyft and The National Urban League have partnered since 2017 and we’re proud to be a founding partner of the LyftUp Access Alliance,” Morial said in a press release. “By coming together, we’re empowering our communities and our affiliate members across the country to tackle the transportation barriers to upward mobility.”

Michael D. Smith, executive director of the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance said the LyftUp Access Alliance will help partners of his organization continue helping families affected by the coronavirus.

“Our MBK partners are working daily to mobilize volunteers to distribute meals and other essential needs to families, provide youth with mentoring support and wellness checks and help mitigate recent increases in violence through community-driven violence interruption,” Smith said. “The LyftUp Access Alliance will provide free, reliable transportation to our partners to continue supporting their critical work during these challenging times.”

The 11 organizations that Lyft partnered with are:

  • Black Women’s Roundtable
  • Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
  • My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, an Obama Foundation initiative
  • NAACP Legal Defense Fund
  • National Bail Fund Network
  • National Black Chamber of Commerce
  • The National Action Network
  • The National Urban League
  • United Negro College Fund
  • US Black Chamber of Commerce

Local nonprofits and community organizations can also apply for funds from the LyftUp Community Grant by visiting Lyft’s website.

Appeared first in New Pittsburgh Courier, Los Angeles Sentinel

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