URU, The Right to Be, Inc. is partnering with the Town of Windham to increase vaccine outreach. The New Haven-based nonprofit is bringing a marketing campaign to the town that features Connecticut residents from diverse backgrounds.
URU is bringing their "Our Humanity" risk communication and prevention program to the town in hopes of helping communities of color, and those most affected by COVID, get accurate information about the vaccine.
“The work that URU does is about lowering your defense mechanism just enough that we can get the education, the information that you need," said Crystal Emery, CEO of URU.
The nonprofit has done a lot of work across Connecticut and in the New Haven region. Now, they are expanding their efforts to eastern Connecticut, including Windham, where vaccination rates are falling a bit behind.
“In Windham we have had free vaccination clinics at the elks club, at our firemen’s training school, but we still haven’t gotten the turn out that we have been hoping for," said Mayor Tom DeVivo.
URU is designing and implementing marketing materials across the town. The banners feature people from the community. For example, some materials will feature family liaisons from Windham Public Schools.
“Our family liaisons, which we have one in every school, will be the face of this effort. They are going to be on posters so the families can go to the schools and know who to look for for education," said Robinson Camacho with Windham Public Schools. “That is Theresa. I know her. She is from Windham Center. Now I know who to call for education of COVID.”
In addition to the marketing campaign, URU is partnering with the Community Foundation of Eastern CT to bring training and information sessions to communities across the eastern half of the state.
“URU’s efforts really helps get to the different parts of our communities that we haven’t really been successful in reaching," said Maryam Elahi, who leads the Community Foundation of Eastern CT.
The first banner in Windham is hanging across the Willimantic Fire House. The fire department will serve as an outpost for Our Humanity messaging. Materials are available in English and Spanish.
“Our work is not to say- you must get the vaccine. Our work is to be part of that credible voice choir," said Meredith Benson, who leads the Our Humanity project for URU.
Victoria DeJesus lives in Windham and is already fully vaccinated. She said that a lot of her friends have not been vaccinated yet because of a lack of information. She thinks the efforts could help reach them.
“Especially people they have seen in town that have either had it or are going to have it, and I think people trust it more," said DeJesus.