McKegg ’18 and colleagues head up Masks in Solidarity initiative

Phillip McKegg ’18—who engaged in cancer-focused student-faculty research while at Rollins—has teamed up with his colleagues from Tufts University School of Medicine to launch Masks in Solidarity, an initiative that addresses racial injustice while helping protect people from the spread of COVID-19.

As aspiring physicians and dentists, McKegg and his team recognize the impact face masks play in preventing the spread of disease. They also know that Black adults are nearly twice as likely to experience COVID-related complications—including death—as white adults. Moved to act by the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement, the group behind Masks in Solidarity devised a way to protect citizens while raising awareness: designing reusable cloth face masks for the current moment and donating all proceeds to organizations focused on racial justice. Customers who purchase masks can choose where their donation goes from a list of pre-selected charities. To date, Masks in Solidarity has raised nearly $1,000.

“We are currently sending profits to the following organizations: Black Lives Matter, NAACP Legal Defense Fund, The Equal Justice Initiative, The Bail Project, and the Okra Project,” says McKegg. “In addition to masks, our website has information about the team, the organizations we support, and resources pertaining to racial injustice and inequality in the United States. Some of these resources include books to read, Black-owned businesses to support, educational movies/podcasts, petitions to sign to support members of the Black community, mental health resources, and how racism impacts health and income equality in the U.S.”