It’s hard to ignore that pandemic headlines are taking over. Unfortunately here in the South, with our low vaccination rates, we are a prominent feature in each story as the Delta variant surges across our region. Right now, only a third of Southerners have gotten their first COVID-19 vaccine dose, compared to more than 50% for the rest of the U.S. We have to do better.

For so many, we were finally getting back to enjoying fairs and festivals, live music, indoor dining at restaurants, large family gatherings and in-person church services. These very things that help define our beloved communities are again at risk. And once again, the South is at the top of another bad list that’s putting our loved ones at risk.

It’s crucial that we take additional steps to protect ourselves, our families, and our friends by wearing masks indoors and getting vaccinated. It’s equally important to reach our most vulnerable populations and share the facts about the vaccines: They are safe, they are effective, and they are our greatest hope to finally put this virus behind us.

One of the greatest barriers to boosting vaccine rates is the rapid spread of misinformation about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines. The very people who are the most vulnerable to this virus are the ones getting fed the most misinformation. Couple this with the political polarization of the science behind the virus and the vaccines, and we have a perfect storm that keeps rolling. It’s long past time that our elected leaders stop ignoring what’s right in front of them – this virus isn’t going anywhere unless we come together and protect ourselves using the proven, public health measures at our fingertips.

We must act now to protect ourselves, our loved ones and everything we hold dear in our communities.

Go to to learn more about the COVID-19 vaccines and schedule an appointment now.

Already received the vaccine? Share your story and encourage friends and family via calls, texts, and social media to get the vaccine. It’s this kind of personal outreach that can really make a difference.

We can do this.

Mitch Landrieu

Founder & President, E Pluribus Unum

Equity in Brief

Ensuring Equity in New Stimulus Funding

As was the case with the Great Recession in 2008, this current economic downturn has impacted communities of color, rural communities, and disinvested communities the hardest. As we move forward with the recovery from the past year and a half, it’s time that we turn our attention to how our state and local governments can meet the challenge of fostering a sustainable and equitable recovery for all.

To avoid a repeat of the past, it is imperative that we arm local elected leaders with a set of actionable strategies for guarding against shortchanging the communities hit hardest by the pandemic.

Check out the newest release in our Equity in Brief series that provides a practical guide to policy makers on how to leverage stimulus funding to create equitable and sustainable budgets for communities, cities and states.


E Pluribus Unum’s Mitch Landrieu appears on Cape Up with Washington Post’s Jonathan Capehart

Last week, EPU’s Founder and President Mitch Landrieu joined Washington Post reporter Jonathan Capehart on the Cape Up podcast to reflect on the state of race relations in our country.

Mitch and Jonathan don’t hold back in covering multiple issues on race in America, including police reform, voting rights, and the filibuster. Here’s just a snippet:

“Racism continues to challenge all of us, no matter where we happen to be in this country. And unless and until we get through it, we’re going to continue to struggle unnecessarily and fight fights that should have been put to rest a very long time ago…We must remember: Diversity is our strength, not our weakness.”

Click here to listen or add it to your own podcast feed.

EPU In the News

UNUM Fellow & Ville Platte Mayor Jennifer Vidrine announces Unity Parks project as part of E Pluribus Unum Fellowship

Just recently, UNUM Fellow Jennifer Vidrine, Mayor of Ville Platte, La., announced Ville Platte’s ‘Unity Parks’ project as part of her E Pluribus Unum fellowship. The Unity Parks project will seek to construct a centralized public gathering space called Gazebo Unity, with a series of “pocket parks.” distributed across the city.

Mayor Vidrine explained the genesis of the project as an acknowledgement of Ville Platte’s historical racial divide and its own, homegrown attempts to bridge the gap.

“We are accustomed to coming ‘across the tracks,’ literally, to see each other,” said Vidrine of her city’s Black and White citizens, who leave their predominantly segregated neighborhoods to mingle across racial lines for relatively few joint gatherings each year.

“Elected leaders play a crucial role in setting the tone for communities on discussions of racial and economic equity because of their availity to change inequitable and discriminatory policies and practices, ” said Mitch Landrieu, founder of E Pluribus Unum. “Just a few years ago, I was in a very similar position as Mayor Vidrine. I know what’s at stake, and I know how important it is to have support and access to resources, experts and tools. That’s where EPU comes in  we designed a fellowship program that creates the space for Mayor Vidrine and other local elected leaders to better realize their power to make lasting change, and leverage the invaluable support of peers, expert advisors and community partners to do so.”

An annual series of planned community events will follow the creation of the central gathering space and association recreational areas. Local citizens and groups will be encouraged to participate in the design, use and enjoyment of the new Unity Parks public spaces. Funding for the project will be help in trust by the Baton Rouge-based nonprofit Center for Planning Excellence which has the expertise to assist communities statewide on local infrastructure projects, wise growth planning and community engagement.

Learn more here.