FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 6, 2014
BELHAVEN - On Tuesday, 7 January 2014, the popular documentary web series Story of America, created by award-winning filmmakers Annabel Park and Eric Byler, will travel to Belhaven, North Carolina to document the discriminatory closing of Vidant Pungo Hospital, the only facility that provides emergency healthcare to 25,000 people in Beaufort and Hyde counties.
The North Carolina NAACP will hold a news conference at 10:00 AM at the Belhaven Chamber of Commerce where Rev. Dr. William J. Barber will announce the filmmakers arrival, local residents and county NAACP presidents will discuss the economic and personal impact of the facility closing, and Attorney Al McSurely will announce the filing of a Title VI complaint against Vidant Health for their discriminatory practices based on race and class. Following the news conference, filmmakers Annabel Park and Eric Byler will interview local residents and policy experts for their short documentary that will be added to the Story of America web series.
Beaufort and Hyde counties are in the Black belt of North Carolina, one of the most impovershied regions in the state. Hyde County has a poverty rate of 23.3 percent and Beaufort County has a rate of 20.6 percent. This increases to 30.9 percent for African Americans and 51.4 percent for Latinos. Vidant Pungo Hospital will be replaced by a clinic that does not provide emergency healthcare and can turn away those who cannot afford to pay.