MASK UP AND LIVE Campaign launches website and social media challenge to encourage African Americans to wear masks to lessen COVID-19 exposure

CHICAGO – As COVID-19 rapidly spreads across the nation, news reports highlighting the disproportionate numbers of cases and fatalities among African Americans have sparked the creation of a precautionary response aimed at lowering these numbers. The “Mask Up and Live” campaign launches on April 17 at 9 am during a press conference hosted by Illinois State Representative La Shawn Ford and neighborhood partners at 3946 W. 16th Street in the Austin community. The campaign will stress to African Americans the importance of healthy lifestyle choices and options – particularly, wearing nose/mouth masks – in powerfully-resonate ways.

By featuring visually-appealing facts and data – including instruction on making effective masks – along with community-based resources and testimonials from first responders and COVID-19 survivors; “Mask Up and Live” strives to dispel myths, counter stigmas and misinformation regarding wearing masks as a first step to flattening the curve of COVID-19 cases among African Americans.

“Mask Up and Live” launches with its website, www.MASKUPANDLIVE.org, a digital resource highlighting the importance of mask-wearing; along with a social media challenge for African Americans in Chicago (the campaign’s pilot city) to upload selfies showing off their masks and including #maskupandlive as well as hashtags representing their neighborhoods and corresponding zip codes. The goal is to create a steady buzz of uploaded pictures making it trendy, cool, and commonplace to wear masks; in turn, decreasing COVID-19 cases among African Americans. The website will also provide information on where to obtain masks online or locally, free, or at cost.

Get involved by visiting the website and showcasing on social media your mask-wearing selfies with the hashtags #maskupandlive,#maskup, #maskupchi. For more information or to support the “Mask Up and Live” goal to give away one million masks, email info@maskupandlive.org.


The “Mask Up and Live” campaign (incl. www.maskupandlive.org) is the brainchild of Rascal By Design’s Caliph Rasul, Beyond Care’s Carlos Meyers and United NFC’s Walid Johnson – African-American men directly impacted by COVID-19. In addition to facts regarding the efficacy of mask-wearing among African Americans in flattening the COVID-19 curve, the website will be further enhanced with testimonial blogs, online news, and resources highlighting the severity of the disease and its direct impact on the African-American population. Ultimately, the Mask Up and Live website and #maskup social media challenge are designed to unite African-American communities to remain safe, healthy, and informed.