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Chef, Food Advocate Team Up to Serve Free, No-Questions-Asked Red Beans and Rice


Jenn Yates and David Guas

Jenn Yates is an advocate who usually pushes for healthier school food in Arlington, Virginia (15.8% Latino). David Guas is a chef who usually is feeding people. These days, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Yates and Guas are a dynamic duo that provides free meals to vulnerable families to prevent hunger while schools and restaurants are closed. And, thanks to the advocate and the chef, red beans and rice are feeding thousands. May 5 UPDATE: The Chefs Feeding Families initiative has provided 18,000 meals to families across the DC metro area. Yates, the Advocate, Understands the Importance of Food Assistance Programs Yates grew up in a low-income, working family. She said she is grateful for food assistance programs like free meals at schools. “I got school meals as a kid,” ...

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Latina Communicator Uses Expertise to Advocate for Her Community


NEW Latina Communicator Common Sense Latino one

Finding the right message has always been important to Maria Alvarez. That determination is what led her to become a Vice President of Common Sense Media — a national, nonprofit communications network that is "dedicated to helping kids thrive in a rapidly changing world. Independent data on media and technology use and its impact on children's physical, emotional, social, and intellectual development." Alvarez, founded, designed, and continues to lead Common Sense Latino, the Spanish-language-only program of that organization, which creates content for that community specifically. “I’ve been on the ground and in the trenches with these families for over 10 years,” Alvarez said. “So, I know how willing Latino families are in embracing technology, and you see that in the ...

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City Leader Uses ‘Omnibus’ to Power Up Transit and Walkability in Richmond, Virginia


Andreas Addison transportation omnibus

“I feel like my life is threatened at each intersection.” That is what Andreas Addison said about walking the streets and relying on mass transit during his #NoCarNovember experiences in Richmond, Va., where he is a city council member. He wanted safer streets and more frequent transit for his constituents. So Addison found two models he liked─a D.C. city leader’s omnibus bill (one that combines several measures into one package) for better transit, more walkability, and less car reliance, and Virginia Commonwealth University’s work to make campus safer for pedestrians. Addison then began working on an omnibus bill of his own to create a safer environment for people walking, biking, and taking the bus in Richmond. Unfair Social and Health Outcomes in Richmond Life ...

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James Rojas: How Latino Urbanism Is Changing Life in American Neighborhoods


James Rojas Latino Urbanism

James Rojas loved how his childhood home brought family and neighbors together. The L.A. home had a big side yard facing the street where families celebrated birthdays and holidays. Uncles played poker. Aunts tended a garden. Children roamed freely. Mexican elders—with their sternness and house dresses—socialized with their American-born descendants—with their Beatles albums and mini-skirts. Rojas was shocked to find some would look down on this neighborhood. “Why do so many Latinos love their neighborhood so much if they are bad?” he wondered. Rojas, in grad school, learned that neighborhood planners focused far more on automobiles in their designs than they did on the human experience or Latino cultural influences. He wanted to change that. Rojas has spent ...

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Police Chief, Superintendent Start Program to Support Traumatized Kids


Gault and Savage launched the Handle With Care Program in Moline Illinois

Police Chief Darren Gault believes kids deserve more support in avoiding risky behaviors. Gault knows when police officers interact positively with kids inside schools and out, they help kids stay in school and stay away from crime in Moline, Ill. (16.8% Latino). But officers already have so many unfunded mandates on their time. That is why Gault was so excited when he learned about the low-burden, no-cost “Handle With Care” program, which provides positive interactions for kids who experience traumatic events. Gault shared the program with Rachel Savage, superintendent of Moline-Coal Valley School District. Together, Gault and Savage—with help from a Salud America! Action Pack—are launching the Handle With Care. People in Moline Face Stress, Violence Gault and ...

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Amanda Merck: Propelling Civic Engagement in San Antonio and Beyond


Amanda Merck

Amanda Merck isn’t only a content curator for Salud America! at UT Health San Antonio, a public health representative for the Active Living Council for a Healthier San Antonio, and a teacher of group classes for Fitness in the Park. She is a fighter for equitable transportation, equitable access to parks, and an advocate for children who experience trauma. Merck is a poster child for civic engagement for health equity─and she is dedicating her time and career to help countless others become civically engaged, too. ‘Never Any Talk about Civic Engagement’ Merck grew up in many different places including California, Texas, and Montana. As the daughter of a low-income, high-school dropout, working was meant to pay the bills. “There was never any talk about civic ...

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From Living in a Sick Home to Making Others’ Healthy


Hayward Sick Home Score

Bill Hayward learned a disturbing truth when he ventured into the crawlspace underneath his home. For a year, he, his wife Adriana, and other members of their family experienced consistent migraines, mood swings, extreme fatigue, flu-like symptoms, and a host of other health problems — with no root-cause explanation. They sought help from experts and professionals alike to no avail. Using a last-ditch, do-it-yourself test, Bill discovered their home itself was full of mold and that it was responsible for their symptoms. "It's terrifying and heartbreaking," Adriana said. "I felt really hopeless; the medical profession not really knowing what to do with it and dismissing it. It was just a very dark and sad time for our family." Mold and other environmental factors can lead ...

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