Mission, Vision & History

Mission Statement

The BEC supports equitable systems that advance justice and affirm the dignity of every human-being by building and strengthening strategic collaborations and networks through advocacy. To achieve this, the BEC utilizes the expertise of social scientists, physicians, health care professionals, epidemiologists, public health practitioners, funders, government officials, business and education leaders, researchers, and community advocates to address inequities that structural racism and oppression have on the health, well-being, growth, and economic stability of the Black community. 

Vision Statement

The BEC strengthens and supports the Black community and our neighborhoods that are: 

  • A Model of Collaboration, Partnership, and Innovation 
  • Uniquely Diverse, Beautiful, Vibrant and Connected
  • Reinvesting Culturally, Spiritually, and Economically 
  • Creating the Best Opportunity for Everyone to Live, Learn, Work, Worship, and Play



Due to a lack of an equitable and just response to the coronavirus pandemic by regional government and health authorities, a group of Black leaders came together to form the Black COVID-19 Equity Coalition. The group was united by a shared passion and urgency to address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Black community and then proceeded to develop equitable strategies, opportunities, and actions necessary to improve the lived experience of Black people in the Pittsburgh region and beyond. The coalition designed culturally relevant responses to identify health, social, and economic inequities that quickly became evident as the virus spread and as morbidity and mortality increased disproportionately in the Black community. These actions resulted in recommendations for interventions, rapid solutions, and built capacity to address the inequitable identification and COVID-19 responses. As the Black COVID-19 Equity Coalition achieved success in addressing the inequitable responses to the pandemic, it realized that its approach and coalition model could be used to address the impact that institutional and structural racism continue to have on the Black community, which existed prior to the pandemic. Thus, the Black COVID-19 Equity Coalition committed to working on matters of racial equity beyond the pandemic’s eventual end and evolved to address the breadth of SDoH and became the Black Equity Coalition. Today, the coalition is led by a core team, The Huddle, and accomplishes its work through subject matter-specific committees/working groups comprised of community leaders:
  • The Huddle Working Group is a cross-sector group of physicians, social scientists, researchers, epidemiologists, civic community leaders, and philanthropists that work to coordinate the working groups of the coalition, build viable connections, and fundraise to meet community needs.
  • The Data Working Group brings together experts involved in public health, medicine, nursing, philanthropy, business development, data access, and visualization to acquire, work with, and find meaning in data that applies to the goals and strategic priorities of the BEC.
  • The Community Health Working Group focuses on exploring the current testing and vaccination priorities and efficacy and necessary tools to both support and be proactive to the black, brown, and underserved communities, especially regarding community health care centers in combination with wrap-around services.
  • The Community Engagement Working Group focuses on providing clear and consistent messaging regarding BEC efforts, goals, and objectives through direct community engagement, coordinated messaging, and capturing community experiences through multi-media platforms.
  • The Black Business Working Group focuses on exploring how COVID-19 has impacted Small Black Businesses and what their needs are during this period, including exploring what technical resources are needed to support business responses to PPP, PPE CARES Act, and similar opportunities.
  • The Policy Working Group focuses on developing policies and legislation focusing on reducing racial disparities in all aspects of life, as well as methods to implement racism as a public health crisis legislation.
  • The Education Working Group works to advise and support school administrators with remote learning, alternatives to in-person learning, and providing connections to community support, to mitigate pandemic challenges to learning especially to students of color.
  • The Statewide Coalition Working Group is a coordinated effort across the Commonwealth to share emerging trends and data with a goal of creating a statewide research lab dedicated to analysis and treatment methodologies that curb infection rates, increase salient testing, and foster whole family response practices in Black and Brown communities.

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