LGBTQ and others need to be protected during the coronavirus
One hundred seventy national, state, and local LGBTQ and allied organizations, including the local Pride Community Center Inc., have joined in a second open letter to health and policy leaders highlighting the importance of measures to prohibit discrimination in COVID-19 treatment and prevention. The letter is a clear communication of those measures and policies to better serve the health needs of marginalized communities with histories of discriminatory encounters with the medical and public health systems.
The letter also urges medical providers and public health authorities to collect sexual orientation and gender identity data for COVID-19 cases in addition to data on race, ethnicity, age, sex and disability, in order to document and address the pandemic’s impact on minority communities. The signing organizations also emphasize the urgent need for more robust relief for lower-income individuals and families, and for persons who are dependent on lower-paying jobs in hospitality and other industries which are being decimated by the pandemic.
These organizations call on public health authorities, medical providers and government agencies to reinforce safeguards against discrimination; to foster collaborative relationships with LGBTQ+ service providers and advocates; to collect important data on patients, including sexual orientation and gender identity, and to expand the economic relief and legal protections needed by individuals and families particularly hard-hit by the pandemic
“In this time of tension even as we are physically separated from one another, it is incumbent upon us as neighbors to come together in what ways we can to make sure that those most often left out are included, get the care they need, and are counted,” we wrote in the letter.
The full letter text, full signer list, and additional organizational response resources can be found online at cancer-network.org/coronavirus-2019-lgbtq-info.
KATRINA STEWART, executive director,
Pride Community Center
Glad The Eagle keeps us informed on the coronavirus
One recent morning, I was having my first cup of coffee as I finished reading The Eagle, ending with my prayer for the day. I began remembering those days when I taught lessons from The Eagle in my fourth grade classroom. The Eagle newspapers were delivered periodically, and we all sat and read the newspaper for a while. In fact, my students and I developed our own newspaper — an 8-inch by 11-inch two-sided sheet of paper. We named it the “Tiger Scratch” with a picture of a paw scratching across the top of the page. Then a paper would go home in the Monday folders informing the parents of activities we would be doing. I selected neat articles students had written on field trips, books we read: Hank, the Cowdog, and Shh, We’re Writing the Constitution. We didn’t just read books. We became real live authors, writing our books and publishing them. All the while we were learning a lot, a statement they used often. I convinced the students they had to tell me what learning a lot meant. They said that it was like reading the newspaper.
My ostensible reason for writing to The Eagle is to thank the paper for all the updated information worldwide, especially during this pandemic, and the activities the paper offers the students. Of course, I participated in them and went on an Easter Egg Hunt.
As a former teacher of 31 years, I felt compelled to interview some students and get their take on this pandemic. They told me: It is worse than the whooping cough, flu, sinus drainage, allergies, etc. Then I asked them what they were doing with all this time on their hands. Some told me they had dancing fingers. They can’t watch the TV screen until they finish their homework watching and working from the computer screen. That’s a lot of screening!!! And their work gets graded immediately. Not only do they wash their hands often, but they clean the computer after and before others use the computer.
I took my souvenir gas mask from World War II from my storage room just in case, or I have a blue bandana handy, or I attach my maroon Aggie scarf to my glasses with clothes pins. It is funny looking, but it works. It’s good for a laugh!
Smile and keep your chin up.