While it is speculated that we haven’t seen the worst of COVID-19, I am confident we haven’t seen the best of what our community will do during these times.
Since March 16th, all Open Buffalo (OB) staff and volunteers are working remotely. We have ensured that our team has the tools and resources necessary to still be in service to you and the community. I’m a hugger, I go in for hugs even when it's socially awkward to do so. So, I am struggling with the concept of social distancing. However, I am following the recommendations of our public officials by staying indoors unless it’s an emergency or critical.
Despite needed social distancing, now is the time for us to GROW our social networks (via online, text, or even an actual telephone call), and not allow COVID-19 to deteriorate the social fabric of our community or undermine our civic life. The best tool we have to fight COVID-19 is each other. Therefore, in the coming days you may receive a call from a member of the OB team to check on you (if we have the right number on file).
We will also be in communication with you to ensure you are still exercising your rights to be counted in the 2020 Census and to vote in this year’s elections. We are seeing in real time the impact of a community being undercounted: healthcare facilities being underresourced yet needing to serve all that walk through their doors. Decisions around the amount of funding communities will receive in emergency aid will be based on how many people have been counted in the previous Census. Stand up and be counted for future generations!
Currently, the April 28 presidential primary election is still on (although there are rumblings about a postponement). Please visit https://www.elections.erie.gov/Absentee to apply for an absentee ballot. It’s quick, simple, and all done by mail! We must still ensure our voices are heard in the upcoming election.
I hope we realize we are only as strong as the weakest member in our community. I hope we realize we are only as healthy as the sickest member in our community. COVID-19 is a moral wake-up call that our communities need system-wide changes that protect the most vulnerable, allow impacted people (that understand the plight of poor and working-class people) to lead, and prioritizes the people and the planet over money.
You probably have heard these a thousand times because they are worth saying, so I will say them again:
Don’t give up.
Wash your hands regularly.
Drink warm water, teas and a daily vitamin won’t hurt.
Keep your areas clean.
Stay informed, but taking a break from the news is totally OK and necessary.