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Jordana Barton: Helping Close the Digital Divide Amid COVID-19


Jordana Barton

The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is surging across the U.S., and the American death toll has eclipsed 130,000. Worse, this crisis is widening the gap experienced by households without internet access — a long-festering problem that has made unequal educational opportunities even more unbalanced, said Jordana Barton, a senior advisor in community development at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. "The COVID-19 pandemic has brought national attention to the digital divide—the gap experienced by households without internet access," Barton wrote. "Directives for social distancing and stay-at-home orders have made access to broadband an urgent necessity for families as they struggle to stay connected with schooling, jobs, health care, government assistance, and more." The Digital ...

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Need Help? Erine Gray’s FindHelp.org Can Connect You to Local Social Services amid Coronavirus


Erine Gray, founder of auntbertha and findhelp.org social services websites, with his mother in Austin Texas

When he was 16, Erine Gray's mother caught the rare brain disease encephalitis, causing permanent damage and memory loss. Gray moved his mother to Austin, Texas, a few years later to help care for her. He was just out of college with an economics degree, doing contract work. She was 57 years old at the time with early-onset dementia, and no income. He struggled helping her with daily tasks and making sure she took her medications. Gray had to find a sitter for her when he left the house. Eventually she required 24-hour care. "Nobody has a road map for these types of situations, I learned that very early on," Gray said in an interview with Salud America! "We didn’t know what services were available to help." That's why, now 28 years after his mother's diagnosis, Gray is ...

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Jason Rosenfeld: Using Healthcare Messaging to Inform His Community about Coronavirus


Jason Rosenfeld in Africa Ethiopia spreading health awareness communication knowledge

Communication is a critical aspect of the human experience, and, for Dr. Jason Rosenfeld, it is the key to making any societal shift. From working with small communities in Africa to helping rural towns in the Rio Grande Valley, he has devoted his career to crafting the right phrase or infographic that can effect change. This work in healthcare communications has led to numerous victories over countless threats. With the spread of the current novel coronavirus, COVID-19, Rosenfeld, his colleagues, and a team of medical students at UT Health San Antonio are addressing this new danger by creating health messaging to help people understand what this illness is, how it spreads, how to stay safe, and other critical pandemic information. Rosenfeld, DrPH, MPH—an Assistant Professor of ...

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Eric Cooper: How San Antonio Food Bank Feeds People Amid Coronavirus


Eric Cooper directs the San Antonio Food Bank to Help Feed Families amid Coronavirus

Eric Cooper knows what it's like to depend on public assistance programs. He grew up in a low-income family, relying on free school meals and food assistance to get enough food to eat. Today, as CEO of the San Antonio Food Bank, Cooper helps families like his. And with rising amounts of food insecurity amid the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, he led the Food Bank to orchestrate a whole new way of operating. An army of volunteers has stepped up to meet the needs of so many, by working in back-to-back shifts and implementing new strategies, such as drive-through pickup lines or COVID-19 preparation kits. Their efforts have garnered national acclaim and have turned a crisis into a rallying point for those who need it most. "I think all of us, as human beings find ourselves in ...

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Neighbors Create Mutual Aid Network to Help Neighbors with Groceries, Care


mutual aid grocery delivery for neighbors amid covid-19 coronavirus

How is your neighbor doing during the coronavirus pandemic? In the Boston area, Anna Kaplan, Jessie Norriss, Sophia Grogan, Miriam Priven, Hannah Freedman, and other neighbors saw their neighbors lose jobs, with no money for bills or groceries. They saw college students and non-English speakers get no support. They each wanted to help their neighbors. So, together, they helped create Mutual Aid Medford and Somerville (MAMAS), an on-the-fly mix of multilingual online documents, Google maps, social media, and text-message threads where neighbors can offer to help, and/or ask for help with grocery deliveries, filing for unemployment, emotional support, and more. Since March 12, 2020, MAMAS has connected over 1,000 neighbors to each other and raised over $90,000 to meet ...

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Latina Starts Community to Make Face Masks Para Todos (For All) amid COVID-19


sanchez masks covid 19 coronavirus

You might call Maria Pia Sanchez la reina de las mascarillas (the queen of face masks). Sanchez, a native of Chile who lives in Florida, worked with a few friends to sew masks to donate to front-line medical workers when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. But they didn’t just sew. Sanchez also created the Para Todos Mask Initiative Facebook page, which has generated a worldwide network of Chilean, Mexican, Guatemalan, Colombian, Venezuelan, and other Latino volunteers to create over 7,000 masks for those who need them most. Update 8/24/20: They've made over 14,000 masks! How did this small sewing group impact the world?! Coronavirus Pandemic Spurs Sanchez into Action COVID-19 swept across the United States quickly in March 2020. By April 2020, experts said Latinos and other ...

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How Advocates Campaigned for 1st Protected Bike Lane Law


advocating for protected bike lanes

Nathanael Fillmore felt his life was in danger every time he rode his bike on unsafe streets to his job as a computer scientist in Cambridge, Mass. (9.2% Latino). So he took action. Fillmore helped launch the Cambridge Bicycle Safety group, and they eventually pushed Cambridge to become the first U.S. city with a municipal law mandating construction of a network of permanent, protected bike lanes on local roads. They did it in three big steps: Build public support on an issues through community organizing Translate public support into political support Use political support to pass a law “Our focus was to work with elected officials to pass legal binding policy to change structural environment among staff and get a network of protected bike lanes built out,” ...

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Bicyclist’s Petition to Open Streets to People in Philadelphia During Coronavirus Crisis


Randy LoBassoPhiladelphia open streets

Randy LoBasso is pushing to make bicycling safer and more equitable in Philadelphia. But, as COVID-19 shut down businesses and schools, the bike-as-transportation enthusiast found people crowding local bike trails and making it hard to practice social/physical distancing. LoBasso had a thought. What if Philadelphia (15% Latino) closed streets to car traffic? Could people use streets to freely bike, walk, and be physically activity while also maintaining six-feet distance? LoBasso led an “open streets” petition and got the city to close a major street to cars, and open it for people walking, biking, and rolling. And he’s not stopping there. LoBasso Understands Need for Biking as a Means of Transportation, Access to Opportunity LoBasso isn’t a spandex-wearing ...

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How Schools Continue “Handle With Care” for Kids Amid Closures, Coronavirus


Handle With Care Salud Heroes

Over the past few years, dozens of U.S. schools launched the Handle With Care program to better support students facing childhood trauma like poverty and domestic violence. For the program, police alert school leaders when they encounter a child at a traumatic scene, so schools are prepared to keep an eye on the student and provide support or services. But now schools are closed due to coronavirus. So how are these schools adapting the Handle With Care program and maintaining meaningful connections with students in the face of school closures? We asked three people who got the Handle With Care program started in San Antonio. How Did Handle With Care Begin in San Antonio? Read or watch how Diana Centeno of San Antonio ISD (SAISD), John Hernandez of East Central ISD (ECISD), ...

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