A message about COVID-19 from our Executive Director Allen Hernandez
COVID-19 is a serious threat to the health of all people on this planet. Unfortunately, this means that our lives may be disrupted as a result of this crisis. This may be a scary time for you, and those feelings are valid. We want to remind you that in this time there are ways to be proactive, protect yourselves, and your family.
To take precautions, the Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice (CCAEJ) will be enacting travel restrictions for staff. That means our team will not be personally present for outside meetings or conferences. Organizers will be available for support through phone calls, as individual in-person and community meetings will be postponed until further notice. Our Census team will not be canvassing or tabling at events until further notice. Staff will have the option to work remotely, without worry of having to lose pay or benefits. Lastly, we will not be taking requests to hold community events, meetings, or retreats at our offices until further notice.
We want to provide important suggestions from medical experts regarding COVID-19. You can reduce your risk of infection if you:
*Clean hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water for at-least 20 seconds *Cover nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing with tissue or flexed elbow *Avoid close contact (1 meter or 3 feet) with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms
If you or a loved one are infected, do not panic. You have several choices depending on your specific situation. You can consult with a doctor and receive medical attention. You can also self-quarantine at home until you’ve recovered (medical experts recommend for 14 days) to keep others healthy.
Make sure to have essential needs, such as water, non-perishable foods, tissues, toilet paper, and hand sanitizers available. Please make sure that in this process you are mindful of the limited supplies available currently and wary of not overspending and overbuying.
Now, let’s focus on why it’s crucial for us to understand the socioeconomic impacts associated with the virus:
The panic around this virus has caused people to rush to stores to prepare, and rightfully so. However, families with less resources and less income have been potentially shut out of that same opportunity as a result of structural inequality. This same system has made us dependent on mass production and mass consumption to the point that we’ve been stripped of our lands, our health, and our home—mother earth. The COVID-19 pandemic is not only a challenge, but also an opportunity for us to re-analyze the way in which we consume, produce, and move our goods.
Instead of always relying on Whole Foods, Walmart, or Trader Joe’s for fresh produce, we can grow our own or connect with local community gardens that can show us how to cultivate our own foods. Instead of always relying on e-commerce or the neighborhood corporate giant, we can re-purpose existing items or barter things with close friends and neighbors.
In the end, if we don’t address existing air and water pollution impacts and the looming climate crisis, we will continue to see catastrophes arise, and these events will impact those who always bear the brunt of structural inequity—front line communities.