Jay-Z and Meek Mill have been involved with trying to protect U.S. prison inmates from COVID-19 since it began spreading in the country. They’ve now made their largest donation of personal protective equipment by giving surgical masks to every prison and jail in the U.S.
The donation comes after Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey donated $10 million to Reform Alliance, the criminal justice reform organization started by Jay-Z, Meek Mill, Van Jones and others last year. Dorsey donated the funds through his #startsmall initiative, set up to help COVID-19 relief efforts across the globe.
Jones, the CEO of Reform Alliance, commented on the $10 million donation and the live-saving impact it will have on inmates across the country.
“This generous donation from Jack and #startsmall is an absolute game-changer,” said Jones in a statement. “Not only will this gift help us protect millions from the threat of COVID-19, but this level of support from a tech titan marks a turning point for the criminal justice reform movement.”
“It’s truly an honor to call Jack an ally in this fight, be able to provide masks to every prison in America and potentially save tens of thousands of lives,” he added.
Reform Alliance released a new PSA this week about prison inmates not having proper protection from the disease, a point that Jay-Z, Mill and Jones have been making since working on COVID-19 relief efforts.
“We are human,” said a woman in the video. “We’ve made mistakes. That doesn’t mean that our lives are any less valuable than the next person.”
The 10 million masks donation follows Jay-Z and Reform Alliance giving more than 130,000 masks to Rikers Island in New York, Mississippi State Penitentiary, Tennessee Department of Corrections and prisons in South Carolina last month. He partnered with Rihanna to donate $2 million to COVID-19 efforts before that.
But Jay-Z isn’t the only person in his household to assist with relief efforts in a major way. His wife Beyoncé, through her BeyGOOD foundation and a separate partnership with Dorsey, donated $6 million to provide mental health wellness for people who currently need it.
The foundation also teamed with her mother Tina Knowles Lawson to give 1000 COVID-19 tests to people in her hometown of Houston, Texas, last weekend. Beyoncé reacted to the large turnout on Instagram.
“Seeing my hometown do their part and get tested today brought me so much joy. 🙏🏾 H-Town, I love y’all ❤️,” she wrote Saturday, May 9.