A Daughter Loses her Battle with COVID-19 By Cassiette West-Williams

As Illinois Focuses on Reaching People of Color for Vaccines, A Daughter Loses her Battle with COVID-19

Even with three vaccines now available, white Americans fill at least 70 percent of the population who have received the shots to save or extend their lives. Illinois has received 4.2 million doses of the vaccinations and 3.3 million of the vaccines have been administered. 

Despite the efforts and community forces gathering to recruit people of color to receive the COVID shot, some African Americans are falling thru the cracks, amid the push to recruit adults, at all stages, to get the injections.

Erica Faye Watson

Tributes to Illinois’ daughter Erica Faye Watson, 48, poured like water from a faucet, as the CDC pushes people for more vaccines. The popular lady was mourned by old and young alike, with countless tributes from on-air, Chicago personalities, to Black alumni from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana.

Family members confirmed that Watson died from COVID-19 complications, the day after her birthday. She did not have an opportunity to receive the Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson and Johnson shot.

Watson was known for embracing her body and features for who she was as a full-figured Black woman in America. 

Her two films, Precious and ChiRaq, made her a sensation across the nation, but Illinois knew her best as a comedian and a media contributor. She worked as a news assignment editor for the local NBC station in Chicago. In later years, she would be featured regularly on Windy City Live, adding to the daily banter about enjoying life in an urban city. 

Watson’s sought-after comedy show, “Fat B—-” was very popular nationally, as she laughed at herself and her antics as a full-figure size woman. The Columbia College graduate was known for supporting women’s business endeavors and volunteering for organizations. A friend said that someone tried to pay her for an event and she refused to take the cash, saying that her purpose was to uplift the community.

Family members said Watson went to Jamaica to write and focus on her art and eventually died on February 28th. 

Now that there are three vaccines available to the public for free, a major push for people of color has been thrust into the spotlight for extended ways to reach out and vaccinate Illinois residents. There are large vaccination sites in Des Plaines, IL, and at the United Center in Chicago. These vaccinations are for essential workers and people over 65 years-old with medical conditions.

Former Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, 65, went to his gated, Ocean Reef home in Florida and received his vaccination in January 2021, reported several news agencies. Rauner also donated $250,000 to FLA Governor Ron DeSantis’ political campaign last month. He originally donated $5,000 to his political colleague, before increasing the amount.

Rauner, who served as governor from 2015 – 2019, was not allowed to receive his shots before others in Illinois, as was reported by the Miami Herald.

The CDC has warned Americans to not let their guards down, regardless of being vaccinated. Dr. Anthony Fauci said that until the majority of citizens are vaccinated, precautions need to be intact. There are 18 super stations for Illinois vaccinations.  One can call 1-800-CDC-INFO to find a suitable location to receive the shot.