Over the last 30 days, IBE’s leadership has been monitoring the impact of COVID-19 across the country and within our city and state. We have kept abreast of information and data provided by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH), and Marion County Health Department (MCHD).
Advancing our mission – being a voice and vehicle for the social and economic advancement of the African-American community over the last 50 years – includes our responsibility to protect the health and safety of those who attend our traditional community engagement programs and events. Under the current pandemic circumstances and with the concurrence of our Board of Directors, we are canceling all IBE events that invite physical public gatherings in 2020.
More specifically, this will include:
Summer Celebration events involving public gatherings in July including the Free Concert, Exhibition Hall, 50th Anniversary Gala, and All White Affair; and Circle City Classic events involving public gatherings.
While the current opinions of the health experts are that the virus is expected to peak in Indiana (as well as other states) by early May, followed by an anticipated trend of decreasing pandemic-related hospitalizations and deaths, there are other troubling health risk factors that must be considered as well. Despite the encouraging forecasts, we find ourselves no closer to a vaccine, we continue to be challenged by insufficient testing nationwide, and there are still many unknowns about the virus.
Even more alarming is the impact of COVID-19 within the African-American population nationwide. We are suffering disproportionately.
IBE Virtual Programming
Though we are canceling physical public events to protect the health and safety of our attendees, it is incumbent upon IBE and its partners to continue to address the barriers, biases, social conditions, and fundamental inequities that have plagued our communities for generations. We are working diligently to do so over the next six months. For the remainder of 2020, we have reviewed all programs and events planned for the rest of the year that will be well-served through virtual platforms. A number of our programs and events are not only suitable for this but will offer expanded opportunities through online delivery, including the ability to be recorded and played on-demand by a much broader audience. Our conferences and programs covering education, business, career opportunities, youth leadership, and others have already been targeted for this evolution. We will be announcing a full lineup of our virtual conferences and events shortly.