Hosted by Queen Latifah and featuring appearances by Gabrielle Union and a performance by Katharine McPhee-Foster, the American Lung Association streamed its first live digital fundraising event, # Act4Impact, on Saturday (September 26).
At the beginning of the event, Queen Latifah expressed how the new coronavirus pandemic “has made blatantly clear the startling inequalities in our nation and highlighted the human toll they have had on our most vulnerable populations”. He added the event’s emphasis on helping those most at risk from the virus: Black, Latino and indigenous communities.
Gabrielle Union and Dwayne Wade appeared at their house to take part in the #lungflexchallenge, showing how much can be done in one breath ̵
Katherine McPhee sang a sincere interpretation of “The Prayer”, accompanied by her husband David Foster on the piano. The singer dedicated her performance to frontline and essential workers “who have saved so many lives, touched so many hearts, and kept our world going during this impossible time.”
The two-hour lead has also led scientists, health workers and people affected by COVID-19 to raise awareness of the ongoing health disparities that continue to affect marginalized communities during this pandemic.
Latifah held a panel with Dr. Juanita Mora, allergist / immunologist at the Chicago Allergy Center, Dr. Cedric “Jamie” Rutland, assistant clinical professor at the University of California Riverside, and Dr. Sumita Khatri, director of the Asthma Center at the Cleveland Clinic. The trio touched upon issues impacting marginalized communities, from language barriers with healthcare professionals to a lack of resources to ensure safety for themselves and loved ones, as well as evolving solutions, such as telemedicine which offers greater accessibility to those who they cannot physically reach a doctor’s office.
Dr. Mora shared her personal story of wanting to keep the Chicago Allergy Center open as other healthcare locations closed in the beginning, knowing that the Latinx community faces a lack of options by being a first-generation Mexican-American. When asked by Latifah why it was so relevant, Dr. Mora said at the time she thought, “This could be my family … I can’t turn my back on my family. I have to help guide them.”
# Act4Impact also included musical performances, comic sketches and other entertainment from stars such as Common, Laura Dern, Jimmy Fallon, Vivica A. Fox and Whoopi Goldberg.
Funds raised from the event support the Lung Association’s COVID-19 action initiative and its efforts to provide free education and cloth masks to those in need, protect public health by supporting COVID-19 and flu vaccines in communities in color disadvantaged and prevent future epidemics by investing in research on respiratory viruses. To learn more about the American Lung Association’s COVID-19 action initiative, their # Act4Impact event, or to make a donation, visit lung.org/act4impact.
This article originally appeared on The Hollywood Reporter.