Unique Ways to Thank your Essential Workers

LinkedIn
Thank You to Essential Workers in Fight Against Covid-19

From doctors and nurses to grocery store clerks and pharmacists, our essential workers are showing up every day to keep us safe and healthy during this time.

We are so thankful for each and every one of these workers, but how can we better show our gratitude and encourage them along the way? Here are four unique ways you can thank our essential workers.

1) Make a Sign

This is a relatively easy one that can be done by the whole family. Create a sign to hang from your window, car, or front yard that can be easily seen by essential workers driving or walking by your home. This little sign of encouragement shows they are being appreciated, even when we cannot personally thank every single one of them.

2) Support Their Families

During this time, essential workers are often working longer hours, and many are unable to be fully present for their families during this time. Check up on the families of essential workers in your life, and see what you can do to help. Delivering groceries, making a meal, or simply being a good listener can help ease the stress of the families who are struggling with the new lifestyle of their essential loved one.

3) Feed the Frontlines

Especially for medical professionals working long hours, getting a proper meal may be the last thing on their mind while trying to help others. Ordering food to be delivered to local hospitals, firehouses, grocery stores, and other essential businesses will not only show them your appreciation but could also ease their especially stressful work day. Ordering food will also help restaurants stay in business!

4) Stay at Home

The best way to show respect for those who are working so hard to keep us safe is to adhere to their wishes and stay inside. Washing our hands, keeping ourselves healthy, and social distancing are just a few of the ways that we can all slow the spread of the virus and speed up the process of bringing our essential workers home sooner.

Michael Jordan Donates $10 million to Open New Medical Clinics in His North Carolina Hometown

LinkedIn
Michael Jordan close up smiling wearing a green jacket

NBA legend Michael Jordan is donating $10 million to open two new medical clinics in his hometown of Wilmington, North Carolina.

The clinics, slated to open in 2022, will serve the uninsured or underinsured residents of New Hanover County, according to a news release from Novant Health, a regional health care system.

“Everyone should have access to quality health care, no matter where they live, or whether or not they have insurance.” Jordan said in a statement. “Wilmington holds a special place in my heart and it’s truly gratifying to be able to give back to the community that supported me throughout my life.”

This is not the first time Jordan, who owns the Charlotte Hornets, has stepped up to help his community.

In 2017, Jordan committed $7 million to Novant Health to open two clinics in Charlotte. The donation came with a pledge to provide resources to communities with little or no health care.

The first Novant Health Michael Jordan Family Medical Clinic opened in October 2019. Last year, it served as a Covid-19 screening and testing site, providing more than 13,000 tests.

Last October, the six-time NBA champion again partnered with Novant Health to open a second medical clinic in Charlotte, North Carolina.

To date, Novant Health said the two Charlotte clinics have brought primary care, behavioral health and social support services to the area’s most vulnerable communities, seeing more than 4,500 patients and administering almost 1,000 Covid-19 vaccines.

Novant Health said Jordan’s latest donation will help “bring this same integrated care model to more rural and rural-adjacent communities in his hometown.”

“This pandemic has exacerbated health equity gaps across our state, making our efforts to close them even more emergent. We look forward to standing these clinics up as quickly as possible to ensure all members of the community have access to necessary medical care,” Carl Armato, president and CEO of Novant Health, said in a statement.

“We are so appreciative of Michael’s unwavering commitment to help us bring affordable care to our communities that need it most. It’s not only an investment in us as a partner, but it’s an investment in each and every person that our clinics can reach.”

Novant Health said it has now received a total of $17 million from Jordan, dedicated to developing clinics.

Read the full article at CNN.

Black Dancer Calls Out Racism in ‘Elitist’ European Ballet World

LinkedIn
dancer chloe lopes gomes performing wearing a black dress ballet

“Our skin color should not be a criteria, only talent should matter,” ballerina Chloé Lopes Gomes told NBC News”

By Adela Suliman for NBC News

Other dancers, including in the United States, have voiced their support for Lopes Gomes, saying that it is high time for the ballet world to address racism and bigotry.

She said that in rehearsals at Berlin’s prestigious Staatsballett, which she joined in 2018, she was told her mistakes stood out because she is Black. In another incident, she said she was mocked when offered a white-colored veil for a show.

For some performances of “Swan Lake” she also said she was made to wear white makeup, despite the school formally dropping this requirement for people of color in the 2018-19 season. Though she acknowledged this was a “tradition” of the show, it was one she deemed outdated.

“Asking not only a Black person but a ballerina to color their skin to look whiter, I don’t think it’s right — I felt very humiliated and very alone,” she told NBC News.

“The harassment kept going, I was very depressed,” she added. During time-off for an injury in 2019, she said the combination of the injury and harassment led to her being prescribed antidepressant drugs. Almost a year after she returned to work, she learned her contract, which is scheduled to end in July, would not be renewed.

Lopes Gomes, whose father is from Cape Verde and mother is French and Algerian, said she made complaints to the company before learning that her contract would not be extended. She added that she felt compelled to go public with her experiences in order to improve the situation for future generations of Black dancers.

Read the full article at NBC News.

Black Americans And The Coronavirus Vaccine – Some Perspective

LinkedIn

Black Americans are disproportionately vulnerable to the coronavirus. According to the National Urban League, Black Americans are 3 times more likely than White Americans to get the coronavirus, and twice as likely to die from it.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) numbers in the table below show slightly different numbers, but they are just as concerning. From my lens, I have seen responses in different communities that reflect this disparate reality. For example, most Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) shuttered their fall    (Photo Credit – AP PHOTO/LYNNE SLADKY)                            sports, including football, while other institutions continued to play.

As vulnerable as our community is to the virus, there is also a strong thread of skepticism about the emerging vaccines. As a scientist, I have continually argued that science and technology would dig us out of this crisis. With the first round of vaccines being administered, I truly believe that “normalcy at the end of the virus tunnel is within sight.” I would take the vaccine if offered it, but a Pew Research Center poll taken in September (2020) tells a different story. While there is some skepticism irrespective of race, there are stark differences. Only 32% of Black adults responded that they would likely get a Covid-19 vaccine shot. This is about 20 percentage points lower than White and Hispanic adults. According to The Guardian, a study by the NAACP, Covid Collaborative, and UnidosUS found that only 14% of Black Americans think the vaccine will be safe.

Read the full article at Forbes.

Experts warn of low Covid vaccine trust among Black Americans

LinkedIn
Distrust over the Covid-19 vaccine runs high among Black Americans, but Black doctors are waging a battle to get the community informed — and vaccinated.

The patients who stream into her clinic in a low-income and predominantly Black section of Chicago’s South Side have been terrified by the coronavirus pandemic, said Dr. Brittani James, stressed out by its harmful effects on the community and frustrated by mixed messages from government officials.

 

(Image credit – Jordan Mitchell for NBC News)

But now, just as possible solution to the virus’s spread is onthe horizon, she is particularly worried about what she is hearing from her patients. Many of them fear that the vaccines aimed at stopping the spread of Covid-19 will be harmful to Black Americans.

Concerns about vaccines have left some Black people entirely unwilling to take a vaccine, while others have said that they want to wait and see how the first wave of vaccine distribution is handled.

When those concerns come up, “I look my patients in the eye and I say that I understand, I’ve read the studies myself, and my job is to protect you and I will not do you wrong,” said James, a family physician who is also an assistant professor at the University of Illinois College of Medicine. “I don’t respond with writing them off as irrational and ignorant.”

Read the full article at NBC NEWS.

UPS Ends Ban on Beards and Natural Black Hairstyles

LinkedIn
UPS Black hair ban
The shipping company is lifting several of its longstanding strict rules on the personal appearance of its employees who interact with the public — mostly its army of delivery drivers.

The changes loosen the previous strict limits on facial hair (no beards for most employees, and mustaches limited to above the crease of the lip), how long men could wear their hair (nothing longer than collar length), and hairstyles (no Afros or braids). While styles still must be business-appropriate and not pose a safety concern, those specific limits have been eliminated.
Photo credit – Benjamin Norman for The New York Times
Wednesday’s announcement also includes the lifting of gender-specific regulations, including rules like the length of the uniform’s shorts. The new rules, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, were posted on an internal company web site for employees.
“These changes reflect our values and desire to have all UPS employees feel comfortable, genuine and authentic while providing service to our customers and interacting with the general public,” UPS said in a statement, adding that the company is “determined to continue to make UPS a great place to work for all of our more than 500,000 employees around the world.”
UPS is also surely motivated by its scrambling to add the staff needed to handle the increased crush of packages associated with the surge in online shopping brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Read the full article at CNN.

Free Zoom alternative: Microsoft Teams lets 300 users video chat for 24 hours

LinkedIn
Laptop webcam screen view multiethnic families contacting distantly by videoconference. Living abroad four diverse friends making video call enjoy communication, virtual interaction modern app concept

This year has been a huge year for Zoom, as families and friends around the world have turned to the video chat service to stay in touch during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Microsoft Teams just barreled into the room to make Zoom look a little silly by comparison.

According to The Verge, Microsoft’s primarily business-focused video call app is getting a free tier with a 24-hour time limit on calls just in time for the holidays.

As many as 300 people can jam into one room, with a gallery view that can display up to 49 of them on one screen. (Zoom has a max of 100 participants for Basic and Pro users.) There’s also a feature called Together Mode that will arrange everyone’s video feeds so it looks like they’re sitting together in a theater or coffee shop. If your family is that big, feel free to go nuts with Microsoft Teams — and good luck following the conversation.

Calls can be started and joined from a web browser so you don’t need to download an app. Whoever starts the call will need a Microsoft account, which you should have on hand if you’ve ever used Office or an Xbox but is pretty easy to set up if you haven’t. Crucially, folks who don’t have Microsoft accounts can join calls.

Continue on to Mashable to read the complete article.

Mississippi’s Asya Branch Wins Miss USA 2020

LinkedIn
Miss USA pageant winner Asya Branch smilign with sash on and clasping hands

Better late than never! Months after the competition was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, Miss Mississippi USA Asya Branch has been crowned Miss USA 2020.

Branch, 22, was awarded the coveted title on Monday in a competition that aired live from Elvis Presley’s Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee. She was crowned by her predecessor, Miss USA 2019 Chelsie Kryst.

Placing second runner-up was Miss Oklahoma USA Mariah Jane Davis, and just ahead of her was first runner-up, Miss Idaho USA Kim Layne.

Branch was the first African American to be named Miss Mississippi USA and comes from Booneville.

Prior to her win on Monday night, Branch shared her take on gun laws in her final statement.

“We should require people to pass training and safety classes” before attaining guns, she said.

This year’s winner was chosen by a selection committee that included Fox Nation host Abby Hornacek, entrepreneur Gloria Mayfield Banks, sports reporter and Miss USA 1999 Kimberly Pressler, businesswoman Susan Yara, Miss USA 2000 Lynnette Cole and Carolyn Aronson, CEO of It’s a 10 Haircare and Be A 10 Cosmetics.

The night’s festivities — which were originally slated for spring, but got postponed due to COVID-19 — were hosted by sports reporter and Miss Teen USA 2005 Allie LaForce and American Ninja Warrior co-host Akbar Gbaja-Biamila, a former professional football player.

The competition also included a virtual performance by American Idol alum Haley Reinhart.

With the crown now sitting pretty atop her head, Branch will move to New York City to represent the Miss USA brand and various philanthropic organizations, just as Kryst did before her.

“Being Miss USA has afforded me the opportunity to be an advocate for issues that deserve attention, including criminal justice reform and racial inequality,” Kryst said in a statement. “I am proud to continue the legacy of national titleholders who speak up and encourage change, and I look forward to supporting the next Miss USA and Miss Teen USA in doing the same.”

Continue on to People to read the complete article.

Photo Credit: People

How We’re Surviving through the Pandemic

LinkedIn
A man working on his computer in an office while wearing a mask

By Connie Russell | C. L. Russell Group, LLC

L. Russell Group, LLC (CLRG) is a woman-owned small business full-service workforce training company. Specializing in workforce training, content development, performance assessment and quality assurance. CLRG, like many other small businesses, is learning to persevere in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Here, the founder and CEO, Connie Russell, shares her inspiring story of how using creativity, connection, and a lot of driven faith to navigate her business survival in the face of adversity.

Initial Impact

Although the services we offered were adaptable for COVID-19, we still had a few challenges. Training is not a new industry, and it is very competitive. We discovered many businesses who were in other industries and trying to survive like CLRG also tapped into the training industry to save their company during this turmoil. We found ourselves not only a small company competing with other training businesses (large and small), we are now competing with businesses from other industries taking advantage of the training industry opportunities as well.

COVID-19 Pandemic Impact

Undeniably, this has been the most difficult moment CLRG has faced since our five-year tenure. Our sales decreased more than 80 percent, and that was just the beginning. The severity of the Covid-19 crisis put our business, the community and many families in what some would consider uncharted territory. Even though our services initially included virtual training among other services, we were still majorly affected.

Many of our clients who valued the professional training services we provided for their employees, had to step back and reassess their organization’s essential needs during the pandemic. Unfortunately, professional training services were no longer an immediate essential service for many businesses. Many of our clients had to redirect their training funds to meet essential needs aligned with health, safety, and government regulations. Increasing our virtual and on-demand training services kept us optimistic—a high percentage of our sales came from instructor-led training. This required face-to-face training, and lack of social distancing. So, when employees began to quarantine at home, we immediately lost 100 percent of our instructor-led training services for the second quarter and counting.

Since health concerns and government pandemic policies directly impacted how people can gather for the unpredictable future, I knew CLRG had to quickly reassess our existing services as well as pivot our business model. It was time to seriously bootup.

CLRG shared a few tips that helped them pivot their business during the pandemic below.

Pandemic Pivoting

As our team brainstormed over innovative marketing tactics, we decided to focus on utilizing two (2) Cs of marketing: Customer Solutions and Convenience. The two Cs of marketing put the customer’s interests (the buyer, our clients) ahead of the marketer’s interests (the seller, CLRG).

 

  • Customer Solutions, Not Products: Understand your client’s needs as well as find solutions to their problems. Customers want to buy value or a solution to their problems. CLRG collaborated with other small businesses as well as community organizations to help identify essential needs. This allowed us to broaden our services not only from a business perspective but from a community professional trainer provider. CLRG also identified the trending industries affected by COVID-19 and aligned essential training services to meet those needs as well.

 

  • Outcome: Focusing on customer solutions allowed CLRG to expand in new industries such as the Health Industry. This industry was one of CLRG’s goals for our 2020 opportunity list! Connecting with the community allowed us the opportunity to offer complimentary virtual skills training courses to individuals who were unemployed during the pandemic or simply wanted to use this time to enhance their skills. We discovered possible ways to be a part of the solution, not just for businesses, but the community as well. This was a healing process for everyone.

 

  • Convenience, Not Place: Customers want products and services to be as convenient to purchase as possible. Design your products/services so the customer feels confident when utilizing your services. Customers do not want to embark on additional work to use your products/services. Putting yourself in the place of the customer when trying to decide how to design a more efficient service isn’t always the best route. You already know your products/services so it can be challenging to discover new innovative designs. Try ideation sessions with external stakeholders to discover innovative ways to serve your customers. CLRG wanted to ensure the experience during this sensitive time was beneficial to our customers. Since this was a very unpredictable time, CLRG designed a service that was convenient based on our client needs, with the option of flexibility.

 

  • Outcome: By initially inquiring with our clients about their ‘current’ needs, and not focusing on what we had to offer; CLRG was able to design services that were timely, convenient and flexible during the pandemic. When you demonstrate to clients that you are flexible when meeting their needs (especially during a pandemic), this is when true customer relationships are developed.

Remaining Optimistic into the Future

Ridiculous faith has become my mantra during this pandemic. I refused to believe the pandemic would be the reason CLRG closed its doors. I must admit, I have been truly blessed with an amazing team. As the saying goes, ‘what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.’ We truly discovered what a real shoestring budget feels like, but it has also shown us our true colors of perseverance. There were times my team members would ask why I continued to go into the office. Although my verbal response was ‘because we’re still paying rent’ I was actually thinking of the words my mother would often say to me: ‘continue to move forward as if it is.’ We will continue to strive for excellence, seek innovative solutions and humbly serve. CLRG will continue to believe we have a purpose here and will continue to positively impact the workforce industry for businesses, the community, and families.

Lessons Learned

As a professional development training company, we found ourselves receiving just as much training as our customers during this pandemic. There were so many lessons learned thus far during the pandemic, and I’m sure more to come. But if I had to think of two it would be leadership and relationships. True leadership is demonstrated during trials. On many occasions, I found myself serving in several roles. But it was through this experience I was able to discover new ideas and see my business from different perspectives. When you’re always serving as the leader, sometimes you miss these opportunities to get your hands dirty…literally.

Relationships are key, period. During challenging times, it was very important to stay connected with our customers and associates. Simply sending a hello to let them know you’re thinking about them and hoping they’re doing well says a lot. It demonstrates your sensitivity to the situation at hand and acknowledges that you’re authentic about your relationship. Our customers appreciated this. We will continue to stay optimistic and believe a silver lining is on the way. Until then, we are preparing for the new norm.”

 Click here to view the source: CL Russell Group.

Why Black women face disproportionate rates of breast cancer

LinkedIn
Pink Ribbon Breast Cancer Awarness Month

By Maura Hohman

The day before she turned 30 and had planned to leave for a celebratory vacation, Sharonda Vincent felt a lump on her left breast while in the shower.

She scheduled a last-minute appointment with a doctor at Planned Parenthood, who told her to enjoy her trip because she doubted it was cancerous.

After Vincent returned home to Philadelphia, the mother of one decided to see her primary care provider, just in case. This led to a series of tests, including a mammogram, ultrasound and biopsy. In the summer of 2005, she was diagnosed with stage 2B breast cancer.

“I was numb, hurt, confused, upset, questioning God,” she told TODAY. “It was a complete shock.”

Vincent, now 45, has been cancer-free for 15 years, thanks to the surgery, chemo and radiation she underwent that summer. She’s among the millions of Black women who’ve survived breast cancer, even though the odds are unjustly stacked against them.

Black women are 40 percent more likely to die from breast cancer than white women. Black women are also more likely to be diagnosed at a later stage or at a younger age. Death rates for white women with breast cancer are improving more rapidly than for Black women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Research into the reason for these disparities is ongoing, but it’s likely “multifactorial,” Dr. Vivian Bea, chief of breast surgical oncology at New York-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital, told TODAY.

What’s more, Bea expects breast cancer outcomes for Black women to only get worse due to COVID-19. A recent survey, conducted by the cancer information platform SurvivorNet, found that 1 in 3 women has delayed getting a mammogram because of the coronavirus.

A doctor who looks like you

As a physician and Black woman, Bea believes that a main inhibitor for the Black community to seeking health care is the absence of doctors who can relate to their life experiences. Only 5 percent of U.S. doctors are Black, and even fewer are Black women, per 2018 data.

“When I take care of my Black patients … I can’t tell you how often I hear, ‘I trust you because you look like me,” she said. “I hear stories of, ‘I talked to this doctor, and I told them I had a mass, and they told me it was nothing,’ or ‘I had a pain, and they said it was in my head.’ Unfortunately (Black) women are sometimes not taken seriously.”

While Vincent doesn’t feel her care team approached her differently because of her race, she said she leaned heavily on the only Black medical professional she encountered during her treatment.

In Vincent’s initial appointments, she recalled, staff struggled to draw her blood, and she had to be pricked by multiple techs each time, especially uncomfortable given her fear of needles. So the Black medical assistant planned her future visits so the one tech who could draw Vincent’s blood on the first try was always available.

“She made it a point to really get close to me,” Vincent said. “It was almost like she rode this journey with me. She wanted to make sure I felt comfortable in the office. … It made a big difference.”

Suffering in silence

Shortly after Vincent was diagnosed, she found out her grandmother was going through radiation, the last leg of her own breast cancer treatment, but had never told anyone before.

“As close as we are, my grandmother didn’t want to make it too known, so when she learned of my diagnosis, she felt she needed to be that shoulder for me,” Vincent recalled. “We shared stories, and I actually used her surgeon.”

Vincent suspects that her grandmother’s approach is common among Black women. “People in Black families probably feel like, ‘We have so much other stuff to worry about, let’s not bog the family down with this news,'” she said.

Bea pointed out that she often hears Black women say, “I never had cancer in my family, so I’ll never get breast cancer,” but that’s “totally not true,” she stressed.

Tracy Tomer, diagnosed with stage 3A breast cancer in January, told TODAY that hearing from other Black women in her Brooklyn neighborhood that they had breast cancer was a revelation of sorts.

Continue on to NBC News to read the complete article.

This story originally ran on Today.com.

GetVokl “Meet Your Match” Show to Feature Single Dad Whose Personal Ad Went Viral

LinkedIn
single dad vashaad lifts his daughter up with both of them smiling

When Vashaad Randolph posted a heartfelt personal ad on Facebook, he was looking for a partner. What he got was a post that went viral and introduced him to the country.

People are intrigued by his straightforward approach and personality. Fans can participate in an interactive segment with him when he is featured on the “Love Rants: Meet Your Match” show hosted by Stacii Jae Johnson. He will be a featured guest on the interactive show on September 23, 2020.

 

“Like thousands of others, we heard about Vashaad’s story and we knew he’d make a great guest,” explains Alexander Riesenkampff, the chief executive officer of GetVokl, a livestreaming platform. “We look forward to having him on, so he can share his thoughts, ideas, hopes, and get some great matchmaking advice.”

 

Randolph’s post was shared thousands of times, and it was even covered by several news outlets. In it, he shared that he was a single dad of a great three-year-old, and that he was looking to find someone who would be a great match. He is seeking someone who would make a great friend and wife. He moved to Columbus, Ohio, last December and has been trying to find dates. The pandemic hasn’t made it easy on him, which has further prompted him to take his search online.

 

As a “girl dad,” Randolph let his personality shine through in his post. He’s a loving and caring father, he has high standards for the woman he wants to settle down with, and he’s looking for someone who is also up to the task of being a business partner and stepmother. As a member of the Army National Guard, he is also an entrepreneur, owning a business making custom neon signs. His post did net him a few virtual dates, but he’s still on the search for the right woman.

 

“I think that everyone should be honest and open with what they are looking for in a life partner,” explains Randolph. “I’ve learned a lot through this experience, I’ve shared a lot, and so far it’s been a positive thing. I look forward to being featured on Stacii Jae’s show.”

 

The show he’s referring to, “Love Rants: Meet Your Match,” continues to grow in popularity as so many people are single and stuck at home. They are turning to virtual ways to help make a match, and even hold virtual dates. Every week, singles can tune into the show, where they can participate in live virtual matchmaking and relationship discussions.

 

Stacii Jae Johnson is an interactive podcaster, author, dating/relationship expert, matchmaker and women’s empowerment advocate and the go-to-girl for all things single who has one of the most popular podcasts in the Connection Zone, which is broadcast from the GetVokl network, allowing her to livestream it across multiple platforms at one time. The network allows podcasters to have an interactive experience with their fans. Her show focuses on matchmaking for black singles. Those who tune in can fill out a short matchmaking form, and then her Matching Machine uses her methods of finding the best possible matches. She uses her platform to help people make a match. She will be trying to help Randolph make the perfect match on her show.

 

“I met Vashaad only through learning about his story. It touched my heart. His level of vulnerability and transparency was a breath of fresh air,” says Johnson. “I’m excited to help him find the perfect match and to discuss his approach.”

 

To access “Love Rants: Meet Your Match,” visit the site at: https://getvokl.com/channel/stacii-jae.

 

GetVokl is an app that allows people to livestream across multiple platforms at one time. It’s free to use and ideal for podcasters, coaches, teachers, bloggers, reporters, or others who want their livestream to reach people on multiple platforms. It’s quick to set up and easy to use, requiring only minimal technical knowledge. GetVokl also features VCoin, which helps podcasters earn more money by letting people give tips or donations as the livestreaming takes place. To learn more about GetVokl or to download the app, visit the site: https://getvokl.com/. To learn more about how VCoin works, watch the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qroHqQY0IjY&feature=youtu.be.

 

About GetVokl:
GetVokl is a free livestreaming community platform built for podcasters, livestreamers, and hosts to unleash the potential of their audiences through interactive live shows that inspire and create vibrant communities. GetVokl allows a livestream to be broadcast over multiple social media platforms at one time. Join or create your live video community. 

To learn more about GetVokl, please visit https://about.getvokl.com.

Supporting Mental Health During These Times

LinkedIn

The outbreak of COVID-19 may be stressful—it can be difficult to cope with fear and anxiety, changing daily routines, and a general sense of uncertainty.

Although people respond to stressful situations in different ways, taking steps to care for yourself and your family can help you manage stress.

Stress during an infectious disease outbreak can include

  • Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones
  • Changes in sleep or eating patterns
  • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
  • Worsening of chronic health problems
  • Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs

Things You Can Do to Support Yourself

Take breaks from the news. Set aside periods of time each day during which you close your news and social media feeds and turn off the TV. Give yourself some time and space to think about and focus on other things.

Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try to eat regular, well-balanced meals; get some physical activity every day; give yourself time to get a full night’s sleep; and avoid alcohol and drugs.

Make time to unwind. Try to engage in activities and hobbies you enjoy. Engaging in these activities offers an important outlet for pleasure, fun, and creativity.

Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling. Digital tools can help keep you stay connected with friends, family, and neighbors when you aren’t able to see them in person.

Set goals and priorities. Decide what must get done today and what can wait. Priorities may shift to reflect changes in schedules and routines, and that is okay. Recognize what you have accomplished at the end of the day.

Focus on the facts. Sharing the facts about COVID-19 and understanding the actual risk to yourself and people you care about can make an outbreak less stressful.

Call your healthcare provider if stress gets in the way of your daily activities for several days in a row.
Source: nimh.nih.gov

NAACP President Helps Black Communities Enduring COVID-19

LinkedIn
Derrick Johnson President NAACP wearing a suit and tie pictured sitting behind desk

Derrick Johnson is the President and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

Johnson previously served as the vice chairman of the NAACP’s national board of directors, as well as the president of the Mississippi state chapter of the NAACP.

Johnson is a veteran activist who has dedicated his career to defending the rights and improving the lives of Mississippians. As State President of the NAACP Mississippi State Conference, he led critical campaigns for voting rights and equitable education. He successfully managed two bond referendum campaigns in Jackson, MS that brought $150 million in school building improvements and $65 million towards the construction of a new convention center, respectively. As a regional organizer at the Jackson-based non-profit, Southern Echo, Inc., Mr. Johnson provided legal, technical, and training support for communities across the South.

Black EOE Journal had the chance to talk with Johnson about his views on COVID-19 and its effects on African-American communities.

BEOEJ: In your opinion, how is the black community handling the pandemic? Have you seen that more African Americans are seeing more underlying conditions from the effects of COVID-19?

Johnson: The Black community is facing the brunt of this pandemic. When we get infected with the COVID-19 virus, we are more likely to die from it due to underlying conditions. Unfortunately, African Americans have higher rates and earlier onset of both chronic conditions and disability than white Americans, as well as less access to high-quality health care for those conditions.

BEOEJ: How have you been helping African Americans facing the brunt of this pandemic?

Johnson: What we’ve heard from many of the people we’ve spoken with or assisted during this time is the lack of clear, concise, reliable information has caused confusion and fear. Information during times of crisis can be the saving grace for so many people. The NAACP has provided countless individuals with access to information through our Virtual Town Halls series in conjunction with BET. We invited congressional leaders, policy and health experts, as well as wellness leaders, who presented a great deal of comfort, support and answers to pressing questions regarding COVID-19.

BEOEJ: Are there areas that are harder hit with the virus? Are you seeing any improvement in other areas?

Johnson: The areas hit the hardest with the virus are counties in places like Michigan, New York, California, with predominantly people of color and Black populations. While we see a flattening of the curve in places like New York, we must recognize that we have not eradicated the virus, nor have we created a cure for it. With that in mind, operating with caution should still be a priority for all people, particularly Black Americans. We can’t afford to prolong recovery efforts by going about business as usual.

BEOEJ: What other issues is this pandemic causing, i.e., unemployment. Is this worse for the African-American community than others?

Johnson: Aside from the health crisis COVID-19 is causing, we are also witnessing a calamitous disaster across the economy, and subsequently, unemployment rates are skyrocketing. We know that Black unemployment has always been as twice as high as White unemployment. This virus is creating a compounding effect and raising unemployment for our community even higher.

BEOEJ: Are there efforts being put in place specifically for African Americans?

Johnson: The stimulus packages are providing relief for some, not all. However, we need a stimulus geared directly toward the Black community hit the hardest by this pandemic. This pandemic has only worked to stifle our community’s social and economic progress. We need a stimulus package that provides self-employed and gig workers access to benefits as well.

America's Leading African American Business and Career Magazine

Lumen

Lumen

American Family Ins

American Family Insurance

Verizon

verizon