Community Impact

'The Vaccine, In Our Words': Tallahassee's Rev. Holmes

A Florida pastor uses the power of the pulpit, his belief in science, and his faith to call on his parishioners to get vaccinated in order to protect themselves and others from COVID-19.
Walgreens Stories
This spring, 310 small, white crosses covered the lawn in front of Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in Tallahassee, Florida – each one signifying a community member who lost their life to COVID.
On April 11, the one-year anniversary of Leon County’s first COVID death, Rev. Dr. R. B. Holmes, the church’s pastor, held a memorial service to honor the lives that had been lost. While he mourned the losses, he also used the moment as an opportunity to remind his community why it was so important to get vaccinated. 
“We have a long road to travel,” says Rev. Holmes to parishioners in his familiar, booming tone that fills every corner of the church. “But we must let our light shine. We must be our brothers’ and sisters’ keeper. Too many people of color have not taken their shot … and so I am appealing to you, and young Americans, that it is your moral obligation to get vaccinated.”
This is the final installment in a seven-part film series made by filmmakers David McLain and John Fox of Slipstream, in collaboration with Rego Marquiis and Stefan Clark of Walgreens’ marketing team.
“When we set out to do this series, we wanted to do something unexpected,” says Marquiis, senior director of Walgreens’ Creative Content Studio. “Seeing and hearing so many different perspectives – from a social activist in a New England Hispanic community to a Black pastor in Florida – helps us better understand why some people and communities are hesitant, but it also reinforces our commitment to vaccinate our most vulnerable populations as quickly and safely as possible. Thirty million and counting.”
Church is in session in the final episode of “The Vaccine, In Our Words.” Hear Rev. Holmes demonstrate the strength of his faith and the power of his belief that the vaccine is the answer for the many members of his community who have prayed that no more crosses end up on the lawn:

Visit to schedule your COVID-19 vaccine appointment or find more information.