Actor Sean Penn has been hard at work to combat the coronavirus pandemic this year through his nonprofit organization, Community Organized Relief Effort, or C.O.R.E. Penn founded C.O.R.E. over a decade ago to aid with international disasters, but this year they were able to contribute to the COVID-19 response in Los Angeles, California. Now, Penn is calling on Americans to pitch in as well.
Penn founded C.O.R.E. before the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, where the organization was able to offer aid on the ground. The group also helped in the response to Hurricane Matthew, according to a report by The Associated Press, before turning its attention to the coronavirus pandemic here in the U.S. this year. C.O.R.E. teamed up with the office of L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti to offer free drive-thru testing for COVID-19 in the spring. Penn himself was on the front lines helping with this effort.
Penn told reporters he hoped C.O.R.E. would "save lives and alleviate the depletion of resources," adding: "We have an infrastructure in place to respond, and so we decided that we would if we could be value added. It's something that we can adapt to very quickly with the training of the Los Angeles Fire Department initially. And then we're able to take all those firemen and put them back in to serve the people in the way that we need them to."
Penn and his work with C.O.R.E. were back in the headlines this week when Penn openly endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden for the 2020 presidential election. Penn tweeted that he was "ambivalent" about Biden until this week when he heard Biden speak about how he would respond to the virus if elected.
"I've been working test sites since day one. Talking to Fauci & all the top scientists. It's EVERYTHING that will get America back to work and FLOURISHING," he went on. "I'd been ambivalent about Biden. My ambivalence is gone. Biden for America."
In subsequent tweets, Penn later remarked on the conflicts in Armenia, political polarization and the politicization of coronavirus safety measures, all of which he claimed contributed to his endorsement of Biden. These remarks also matched with the views Penn expressed in an op-ed for CNN, co-written by World Central Kitchen founder José Andrés. In it, the two men called on Trump to "embrace his duty as a 'wartime president.'" Fans applauded Penn for his service to his community, and for backing up his words with actions.