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Baptist Conv. Partners With Dept of Health, Call Out Tobacco Industry and Provide Critical Vaccines

Baptist Convention Partners With Department of Health to Call Out Tobacco Industry and Provide Critical Vaccines to the Community

SEATTLE — The General Baptist Convention (GBCNW) is making a return this summer with its “Unconventional Convention” — and is teaming up with the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) to bring the tobacco industry to account for its targeting of Blacks/African Americans across the nation with menthol, a key ingredient in its deadliest products. Menthol tobacco is best known for its “smooth” taste and its ability to suppress coughing reflexes. It’s often regarded as a better alternative to regular tobacco, but actually increases the effects of nicotine on the brain and makes tobacco more difficult to put down. Menthol is also the favored tobacco product among Black/African American populations in the U.S., which can be tied to more than 60 years of aggressive marketing tactics aimed specifically at getting them hooked. DOH is making efforts to address the issue with its latest campaign, They Think They Know You, which calls out the tobacco industry for its blatant targeting and encourages audiences to be informed of manipulation tactics that have impacted several generations. The campaign will be featured throughout the convention, which kicks off on Sunday, July 23 at 4 p.m. at Goodwill Missionary Baptist Church (GMBC). The convention will run for three days through Tuesday, July 25. This isn’t the first partnership between DOH and the GBCNW. Throughout 2022, DOH sponsored three other conventions and a turkey dinner giveaway that provided more than 200 meals to Washington families for the Thanksgiving holiday. “Everyone is working towards the same goal,” DeeSha Connor, Health Educator at DOH and They Think They Know You Campaign Lead said. “Everyone wants to see the health of our community improve. To live longer, more fulfilled lives. We've been able to come together and collaborate on these issues that we don't always prioritize... We’re building relationships so that as a community, we're taking care of one another and not just checking off a box.” To continue these efforts, DOH has also partnered with the GBCNW to provide free COVID-19 vaccinations/boosters, Mpox vaccines, and all back to school vaccines for those aged 3 to 18 on Tuesday, July 25 from 2-7 p.m. A mobile vaccination unit, known as the Care-A-Van, will be posted just outside the church building. Walk-up vaccinations are available, but pre-registration is highly encouraged. Pre-registrations for COVID-19 and Mpox vaccines can be accessed here. A separate pre-registration link for back to school vaccines is available here. No ID or insurance are required to receive any of the offered vaccines, however the Care-A-Van team has requested that attendees bring their vaccination card or record of their vaccination, accessible at the WA Verify website. “With the Baptist Convention being so open to speaking to their congregation about these vaccines, they're removing the barriers people may have,” said Connor. “I'd like to thank the Convention for being so accommodating and welcoming DOH to help. They aren’t just saying they want to help the community; they're also doing the work.” The GBCNW is also set to honor The Anchor Group during its ceremony starting at 7pm on the final night of the convention, July 25. An address from Convention President Bishop Garry Tyson will recognize Anchor for its Best in Public Sector award from PRWeek and its Silver Anvil Award from the Public Relations Society of America that were both won earlier this year, as well as the agency’s continued efforts to advocate for the community in its partnerships with DOH. The convention’s program is packed with a roster that includes pastors across the Pacific Northwest and Texas as guest speakers, psalmists, and worship led by the GMBC praise team. All members of the community are invited to enjoy food, fun and fellowship throughout the three-day event. For those unable to attend in person, the program will be livestreamed each day to the GBCNW Facebook page. ### Led by President Garry Tyson, the General Baptist Convention Northwest is a nonprofit faith-based organization with over 35 churches and 5,000 members in six states: Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, California and Florida


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