My Kente Masks

The Camden County Metro Police Department received a donation of 400 children’s facial masks and ‘My Kente Mask’ books from the Camden County Council for Young Children (CCCYC).  The packets, a recent publication by authors Dr. Juanita White and her husband George H. White, III, include a child size face mask, along with a book explaining the history of the Ghanaian cloth and their importance in combating the COVID-19 virus.  

Recent studies suggested wearing a double layered cloth face mask significantly reduces the infection rate.  A secondary goal is to increase the use of masks by the adults caring for the children.   As stated in the book, “….and a little child shall lead them.” Isaiah 11:6 

The infection and death rate of the COVID-19 pandemic is disproportionately affecting Communities of Color. Nationally recognized for their community policing practices, Camden County Metro will distribute the packets in the City and assist the CCCYC in promoting awareness in addressing social justice issues facing the country in the wake of the murders of Black citizens across the nation. Moreover, this effort will help children identify local officers as helpers, who they can look to for protection.  By coupling safe health practices from a historical context, the CCCYC hopes to simultaneously address the need to focus on other racial disparities caused by socio-economic stressors.   

Diana Cooper-Vanderlip, President/CEO, CPAC, “Our hope is the colorful cloth will contribute to children increasing their use of masks as well as influence positive identity formation for our local law enforcement officers.” The book also details the meaning of the bright colors.    

Dr. White, has roots in the City of Camden and remains passionate about the community.  She is a former employee at CPAC and continues to be a strong ally for the work CPAC does.  More information will be provided at the Press Conference and release of the “My Kente Mask” publication packets.   

The CCCYC is an advisory council where parents, caregivers and community members join forces as partners to share and collaborate on issues that affect our community.  The objective of our work is to develop a relationship between parents and community leaders to work in close collaboration with local, state and national partners to ensure integration of parents, infants and early childhood services to promote family well-being, and Early Childhood Success from pregnancy/birth to age 8. 

CPAC ‘creates community solutions’ in greater Camden County by lifting the community voice in planning, advocacy, and by promoting coordination and collaboration in service delivery systems.   Through the framework of the Covenant for Children, Youth and Families, CPAC focuses on strength-based approaches to ensure equitable access and eliminate implicit bias.  

Last year CPAC’s efforts supported over 4000 children and families and over 200 senior volunteers.