The Art Of Activism: Two Local Women Of Color Take On COVID-19 And Racial Violence
LISTEN: Gladys Vega joins Monica Cannon-Grant, founder of Violence in Boston, and radio host Callie Crossley to talk about how they've harnessed the power of local activism and on-the-ground organizing to raise their communities up and demand the attention of legislators.
Sleeping Outside in a Pandemic: Vulnerable Renters Face Evictions
“I had one tenant whose landlord wants her out by the end of the month,” Ms. Dejesus said, “The tenant explained the new laws. The landlord acknowledged the new laws and was like, ‘I don’t care, you have to leave.’”
I’m inspired by nonprofits helping people, especially in communities of color
To the broader community: If you don’t know Iván Espinoza-Madrigal of Lawyers for Civil Rights, or if you haven’t explored the powerful work of Monica Cannon-Grant at Violence in Boston, go learn about them. If maybe now you have heard of Gladys Vega and the Chelsea Collaborative, but don’t know about the decades of work that made this nonprofit the perfect organization to serve as a community hub in a time when having such a place could literally save lives, go learn more about them. And thank them.
Vega, the executive director of a social-justice organization called the Chelsea Collaborative, believes that these measures have made it more difficult for immigrants to get the care and support they need to stop the spread of COVID-19. Out of fear of triggering the new public-charge rule, immigrants in Chelsea have been disenrolling from public services, worsening the overcrowding, food insecurity, and poor access to health care that make the area so vulnerable to the coronavirus.
In an immigrant community battling coronavirus, ‘essential’ means ‘vulnerable’
Gladys Vega, a longtime activist and executive director of the Chelsea Collaborative, a nonprofit, began to see in March how even minor disruptions in the economy would dramatically destabilize the community, especially among day laborers whose hours were suddenly being cut. Food scarcity was already a problem in Chelsea, but the coronavirus sparked a wave of hunger.
With landlords threatening eviction and food running short, a line formed in Chelsea
Stephany Escobar recalled dividing up what little food her family of 10 could afford last month in Chelsea: First the children were fed, then the two men who still had jobs, she said. Those who weren’t working — four had lost their jobs due to the virus — split whatever was left.
In this segment for Latino USA, Maria Hinojosa sits down with Boston-based reporter, founder of Latino Rebels and co-host of the In The Thick podcast Julio Ricardo Varela to talk about the factors that caused this crisis in a city of just 40,000 residents, why it was overlooked, and the way healthcare providers have adapted their work in response.
Saving Chelsea: A hotbed of coronavirus has become a hotbed of giving, too
The tragedy in Chelsea has mobilized donors large and small, Vega said. A produce collaborative has contributed food. A group of women in Cambridge have made regular deliveries of diapers and baby formula. Local bodegas that may not survive the lockdown are donating to the food supply.
It’s not uncommon for multiple families to share the same apartment, with up to 16 people living in one two-bedroom apartment, according to Dinanyili Paulino, chief operating officer of Chelsea Collaborative, a community service group run entirely by Latinx women. “There’s a lot of sub-leasing in Chelsea and landlords who take advantage of low-income workers,” she added.
In hard-hit Chelsea, COVID-19 fight a collaborative effort
“This pandemic has shined a bright light on so many inequities in American society,” said Ambrosino. “There’s incredible pain and hurt in the community and people are suffering not just healthwise but economically. These people are in desperate economic straits. Even in the best of times they barely get by.”