Nonprofit’s initiative to combat spread of COVID-19 in BIPOC communities in Connecticut rolls out new campaign in New Haven and Stamford

Initiative will also extend to additional Connecticut cities with funding
from Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care

New Haven, Conn. (February 16, 2021) — New Haven-based nonprofit URU, The Right to Be, Inc. (URU) is taking its national COVID-19 risk-communication and risk-reduction education and prevention initiative on the road. On Monday, URU’s Our Humanity program launched a new bus campaign with ads on CT Transit city buses in New Haven and Stamford. The ads feature targeted COVID-19 safety messaging including the initiative’s “3Ws: Wash, Wear, Wait,” designed to remind people of the importance of washing their hands, wearing masks and maintaining six feet of social distance — or waiting before approaching others — during the pandemic. Presented in English and in Spanish, the signage will also appear as banners positioned at street intersections and bus shelters throughout New Haven and at area churches. The campaign, which centers the needs and concerns of BIPOC populations during the novel coronavirus pandemic and is the brainchild of Our Humanity creator and Connecticut resident Crystal R. Emery, is slated to run through March 15.

Our Humanity delivers crucial COVID-19 information to populations most severely impacted by the pandemic — Black, Indigenous and Hispanic communities — while also training community organizations on how to increase their capacity to assist and educate their residents on COVID-19 facts and protocols, and provide access to PPE, influenza vaccinations and COVID testing. The initiative addresses concerns and questions specific to these communities by arranging forums and town halls with BIPOC medical experts and other leaders. Along with the new transit campaign, Our Humanity delivers critical COVID-19 risk-communications through messaging and social media campaigns, PSA videos, and more. PSA and interview participants for the initiative include former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Joycelyn Elders as well as former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy, who President Biden has nominated to return to the position.

The new bus and banner campaign comes on the heels of new partnerships developed with key organizations in the New England area. The Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut recently awarded URU $138,000 toward the expansion of Our Humanity programming and messaging into additional areas of the state. The funding will allow the initiative to launch its risk-communication and COVID prevention messaging campaigns in the eastern Connecticut region, including New London, Bridgeport, Groton and Norwich. Beginning on February 22, the “Wash, Wear, Wait” and mask-wearing campaign will expand into the Eastern Connecticut region. Funding will also allow Our Humanity to extend its education program to community partners such as the NAACP New London, Walls Clark Temple African Methodist Episcopal E Zion Church, Rock of Salvation Church, Apostolic Church of the Good Shepherd and more than ten other churches in the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC). Likewise, support received from the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, a joint community program from Tufts HP Foundation and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation, will assist Our Humanity’s efforts in vaccine education in BIPOC communities.

“Crystal Emery and her team at URU have decades of multimedia experience and they utilize their communications skills in an authentic and trusted way to engage diverse populations, with the goal of creating a more equitable society. We are thrilled to partner with them,” said Maryam Elahi, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut.

A filmmaker, author and STEM advocate, Emery has been sounding the alarm on race-based disparities in healthcare for years. Her 2010 film The Deadliest Disease in America, on racism in healthcare, exposed many of the inequities that are now highlighted due to the pandemic.

Join Emery and Our Humanity for weekly Instagram Live interviews with experts on Wednesdays at noon EST. Similarly, Our Humanity hosts free weekly virtual town halls with medical doctors that allow Americans to pose questions and hear the latest on COVID-19, including the new strains of the disease currently circulating in the U.S., vaccine rollout, new safety measures, stress and mental health during the pandemic and more; the events are in English every other Monday at 7 p.m. EST and in Spanish every other Tuesday at 7 p.m. EST. The next Spanish-language town hall will be on February 23 while the next English-language event is slated for March 1.

For more information on Our Humanity, visit Follow URU on Instagram at @urutherighttobe for the weekly interviews and visit to sign up and be notified about upcoming town halls.


A 501 (c)(3), the mission of URU is to foster communication and understanding among diverse people by utilizing, discovering and applying tangible multimedia solutions at the intersection of the arts, humanities, science and technology. URU’s goal is to move all stakeholders toward a more equitable and humane world. Because the human condition is complex, and people are multidimensional, it understandably takes a multimedia approach to engage them, especially given their constant bombardment with information. Through a unique approach that involves lowering peoples’ defense mechanisms and meeting them where they are, URU continues to be successful in its mission to help people find their commonalities and work together.


Media contact:

Alimah Boyd

Cheryl Duncan & Company Inc.