Op-Ed: Refusing to be Left Behind, Grassroots Agencies Lead Local Response to Covid Surge

The Si Se Puede Collective’s PROTECT YOURSELF / PROTECT US campaign kicks off at a critical time in our community.

This campaign addresses the need for proactive, culturally relevant health and safety initiatives that speak specifically to San Jose’s East Side residents.

Led by five organizations, the Si Se Puede Collective commits to mobilize the community’s awareness and well-being.

California recently became the second state to reach over one million Covid-19 cases.

Following a spike in hospital admissions and cases, Santa Clara County quickly advanced to Purple Tier, the most restrictive of California’s Covid-19 Blueprint. People of color, particularly Latinos, are hit the hardest by this virus.

According to the Covid Tracking Project, Latinos account for 39 percent of California’s population yet make up 60 percent of its Covid-19 cases. Data also shows that many Latinos are essential workers, primarily in retail, food service, and hospitality.

In addition to a higher risk of exposure, and lack of adequate, reliable healthcare, many are discouraged from seeking care or taking medical leave to quarantine because they are one paycheck away from not being able to pay rent or put food on the table.

Not only is our community battling the virus of long-standing societal inequalities, we are also getting sicker and dying faster from the Covid-19 virus compared to any other demographic in Santa Clara County.

Our community is hurting. Our residents need a voice they can trust. The PROTECT YOURSELF / PROTECT US campaign is the Si Se Puede Collective’s response to effectively communicate health and safety information at the grassroots level.

As we enter the cold winter months, this campaign’s focus is to remind East San Jose residents of protective health protocols: put on a mask, wash your hands, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, and get tested regularly.

The best option at this time is to stay home. However, if you must leave, please continue to practice social distancing and avoid large gatherings.

Above all, we can protect each other when we protect ourselves first.

Join the Si Se Puede Collective’s PROTECT YOURSELF / PROTECT US campaign and get tested frequently a La Plaza.

We are open from 1 to 7pm every Wednesday, and during the holiday season we will be offering testing from 1 to 7pm Monday, Nov. 23, and 1 to 7pm Monday, Dec. 21.

Joanna Acevedo works as a Marketing and Communications Specialist with Kooltura Marketing, which handles branding and outreach for various nonprofit organizations, including the School of Arts and Culture at Mexican Heritage Plaza. She recently earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology with a minor in Public Relations from San Jose State University. Her passions include mental health advocacy, social justice and sustainable fashion. Opinions are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of San Jose Inside. Send op-ed pitches to [email protected].

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