SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Men of Color Health Awareness group, or MOCHA, hosted an informational reception on public health myths at the Solid Rock Baptist Church on Saturday.

MOCHA’s project director Lamont Scott believes that knowledge is power and in order to keep our communities safe we need to start a dialogue on public health.

Saturday nights discussion was all about dispelling myths and presenting facts about the COVID-19 virus and the vaccines. MOCHA’s mission is to empower men of color and their families in the Greater Springfield area with the tools to eliminate health disparities.

“It’s the myths that’s really confusing folks, some of the stuff that’s on the internet and we want to make sure that people have an opportunity to ask someone that they can really get the truth from and also do their own research because knowledge is power,” Scott told 22News.

The event was important to the Springfield community to discuss how Black and Brown communities are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

“In our community we know we are not filling up as well as we should to keep safe in our community. We just want to keep educating people and giving them a chance to ask questions and mostly find a cure for this terrible virus that’s still affecting us black brown and white,” Scott told 22News.

Dr. Wilmore Webley, an Associate Professor of Microbiology at UMass Amherst, hosted the discussion to address people’s concerns when it comes to misinformation around the COVID-19 pandemic.

“People of color have died disproportionately from COVID and what it means is that it’s probably because people are not going for healthcare as often. And I think it’s important for people to have an opportunity to have a conversation about that in this setting where they can ask their questions and get them answered,” Webley said.

Their main goal is to start a dialogue and encourage the community to prioritize their health by getting regular health screenings and making sure that their immunization records are up to date.