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The state of North Carolina has been been conscientiously working to combat vaccine hesitancy among communities of color, and is being "intentional" about distribution, Gov. Roy Cooper (D) said at an Axios event on Wednesday.

Why it matters: Communities of color are hesitant to get vaccinated because of medical mistrust brought on by systemic racism in the health cares system.

  • Cooper also attributed the disproportionate number of COVID cases in communities of color to the lack of preventative health care, crowded living conditions and that members of these communities are most likely to be frontline workers.

What he's saying: "This pandemic has been shining a light on challenges that already exist, and we know that this virus has hit communities of color and underserved communities extra hard. "

  • "It involves going into communities and working," Cooper told Axios. "And we're working with our providers to get that done. And it's one of the priorities that we're emphasizing. You need to be doing this and being intentional about it."

Elected leaders and ministers in North Carolina are reaching out to communities of color to show the vaccine is safe.

By the numbers: The number of vaccinations grew from 11% of the Black population to 80% after a targeted efforts to educate communities of color, Cooper said.

Watch the full event here.

Go deeper

Four ways to help close the racial wealth gap in the U.S.

JPMorgan Chase announced a new $30 billion commitment over the next 5 years to advance racial equity, especially for Black and Latinx Americans.

Why it’s important: Systemic racism has contributed to low and lost wages, rising costs of homeownership and barriers to small business creation, which have stunted economic opportunity for Black and Latinx communities in America – and COVID-19 has only made things worse.

Feb 10, 2021 - Axios Events

Sen. Amy Klobuchar: More help for women and Black-owned businesses hurt by pandemic is needed

Axios Events

The government should provide more help to Black and minority-owned businesses suffering during the pandemic, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) said at an Axios event on Wednesday.

Why it matters: Klobuchar said small communities have been "hit hard" during the pandemic, and women and minority-owned businesses were late to receive financial recovery aid.

  • As Axios' Naomi Shavin wrote in May, structural barriers and a lack of "cash buffers" during the first round of PPP loans made surviving a pandemic particularly difficult for black and minority-owned businesses.

What she's saying: "And we know who's been hit hard by this pandemic, whether it's because they're essential workers, whether it's because they're laid off, whether it's because of the death rate and where you've seen these higher mortality rates with the minority communities or whether it's where the aid has gone."

Klobuchar said she's pushing to include a venture capital proposal that would encourage more women and minority entrepreneurship in the next relief plan.

"No one is better off if we have a whole group in our society who's been hurt more by this pandemic than others," she said.

Of note: Klobuchar also said she sees a path to passing the $15 minimum wage legislation through reconciliation in the upcoming COVID bill.

  • "You've had a lot of these minimum wage increases passed in jurisdictions across the country and not just in blue states," she said.

Watch the full event here.

Aunt Jemima reveals new name: Pearl Milling Company

Photo: PRNewsfoto/PepsiCo, Inc

Quaker Oats' Aunt Jemima products have been renamed the Pearl Milling Company, owner PepsiCo announced in a statement on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Protests over systemic racism have prompted many companies to reconsider products or branding that may be harmful or offensive to communities of color. Quaker Oats acknowledged last June the origins of Aunt Jemima's name are based on a racial stereotype.

  • PepsiCo has pledged more than $400 million "to uplift Black business and communities" and Pearl Milling Company made a $1 million commitment to empower Black girls and women in the coming weeks, the statement said.