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Dr. Michael Johnson Reflects On His Enthusiasm for the Vaccine
Known affectionately as the “Lion of Zion,” Rev. Leon Sullivan would’ve been proud of what was going on in Zion Baptist Church where he pastored for close to 60 years before his death in 2001.
Seeing people file in to receive a vaccination that could save their lives and the lives of others, as we help to arrest a pandemic that has brought the world to a stop, is probably sitting well with his soul.
“The enthusiasm of the church and the community denies the idea that Black people are not wanting to get the (COVID) shot,” said Dr. Michael D. Johnson, medical director of Miriam Clinics, whose staff helped to give the vaccines.
“This is contrary to what you hear in the media,” he continued. “People want to help and feel they are being helpful to the community and the world by getting vaccinated, and they trust people they know.”
A Trusted Source of Hope and Promise
A part of the community in the Tioga section of Philadelphia, Zion Baptist Church has provided a beacon of hope, as a place of peace and security for decades.
Its most illustrious and well-known pastor was Rev. Sullivan who also founded the Opportunities Industrialization Center (OIC) here, a job training program that has since been replicated in several other countries.
“In a community like this,” said Dr. Johnson, “people trust people of color, especially a man like Rev. Sullivan whose legacy is all over this church and Philadelphia itself.”