Vaccine Voices: Executive Pastor Edward Williams

For twenty years, Executive Pastor Edward Williams has helped Mt. Olivet Baptist Church fulfill its mission. He oversees the North Portland church’s operations, human resources, finances and strategic planning. Mt. Olivet, he explains, is Oregon’s oldest African American Baptist church.

He shares his reasons for getting vaccinated:

Executive Pastor Edward Williams

“I see COVID as a public health issue that is a direct threat especially to our African American population. I have a daughter who is a respiratory therapist in Texas, treating nothing but COVID-19 patients. ‘Keep me breathing,’ is what I tell her. I heed her guidance, wisdom and experience. I don’t want COVID to short-circuit my time.

I know there are a lot of people who play the percentages game but here’s what I do know: Every death is a real death. There are a lot of families who have suffered a lot of loss. I don’t want to be numbered among that number when I could have done something to protect myself and others from suffering that fate.”

You can share your own vaccine story by filling out our survey, either in English or Spanish, or by using the hashtags #MyVaccineReason or #MiVozMiVacuna when you share on your social media channels. As we learn more about when and where vaccinations are available, information will continue to be posted at and

This article first appeared in the April 8, 2021 issue of Oregon Coronavirus Update.