One woman’s quest to unite the diverse Hispanic community is also helping battling COVID-19
Photo courtesy of Claudia Romo Edelman
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When the novel coronavirus hit the United States, life as we knew it quickly changed. As many people holed up in their homes, some essential workers had to make the impossible choice of going to work or quitting their jobs— a choice they continue to make each day.

Because over 80 percent of working Hispanic adults provide essential services for the U.S. economy, the Hispanic community is disproportionately affected. Hispanic families are also much more likely to live in multigenerational households, carrying the extra risk of infecting the most vulnerable. In fact, Hispanics are 20 times more likely than other patients to test positive for COVID-19.

Claudia Romo Edelman saw a community in desperate need of guidance and support. And she created Hispanic Star, a non-profit designed to help Hispanic people in the U.S. pull together as a proud, unified group and overcome barriers — the most pressing of which is the effects of the pandemic.

Because the Hispanic community is so diverse, unification is, and was, an enormous challenge.

Photo credit: Hispanic Star


The Hispanic Star campaign is rooted in a firm belief that "we don't win until we all win," and is viewed as both a unifying symbol and a nonpartisan, inclusive, inspirational, and unifying footing in order for Hispanics living in the United States to view themselves and help them act as a unified force for good. Hispanics widely represent stories of migration, struggle, resilience and strong values: hard work, optimism, family and friends, and belonging.

"We wanted to bring these efforts together under the Hispanic Star, for everyone to realize that together, we're stronger. We wanted every Hispanic to feel heard and valued and we want our platform to become a source of pride.

"We just need to showcase our contributions to this country, so Hispanics feel proud of our culture and history, and for everyone else to know we're not takers, but makers," Edelman said.

However, before the community can move forward, they have to stop the spread of COVID-19. This staggering need is why P&G, a founding partner of Hispanic Star, pledged to donate personal protective equipment and critical products to Hispanic essential workers and families affected by the virus. If one household member can stop the spread by not bringing the virus home to their family, countless lives could be saved.

Photo by Rod Long on Unsplash

According to the CDC, Hispanics not only were being exposed because of the nature of their work and/or the number of people living in their households, but also because of language barriers and limited access to health care. The lack of reliable health information in Spanish has impeded efforts to combat the spread of the virus in Hispanic communities, making them more likely to be unaware of the importance of things like mask wearing. Additionally, "Hispanic people are also the largest population segment without health insurance coverage in the United States, leaving those with presumptive symptoms or with a positive COVID-19 test with limited access to needed health care," according to this report.

Because of these unique challenges, Edelman says they launched the Hispanic Star "hubs"—regional groups of volunteers designed to bring people together and focus on each region and city's specific issues. They're also responsible for getting Family Support Packs, featuring critical home and personal care items provided by P&G, to families who need them most.

Photo courtesy of P&G Good Everyday

"We managed to get over 1.2 million products and helped more than 200,000 families nationwide. And the support is still ongoing," Edelman said. Collaborations with companies like P&G have enabled them to reach an extraordinary number of people. Still, there is a lot of ground to cover, and Edelman encourages anyone who is able to get involved.

"You can join your local hub, and if there isn't one you can start your own!" Edelman said. "There are so many things the community needs...we need stars to step up and lead the charge."

Short on time? You can make a difference by simply joining the P&G Good Everyday rewards program. Pick the Hispanic Star as your cause and by taking a survey, answering a quiz or scanning a receipt with P&G products, you can earn rewards. And the best part? As you earn, P&G will automatically donate to a cause you care about—so you can turn your everyday actions into acts of good, helping organizations like Hispanic Star extend further and provide immediate help to more and more families in need.
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Shanda Lynn Poitra was born and raised on the Turtle Mountain Reservation in Belcourt, North Dakota. She lived there until she was 24 years old when she left for college at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks.

"Unfortunately," she says, "I took my bad relationship with me. At the time, I didn't realize it was so bad, much less, abusive. Seeing and hearing about abusive relationships while growing up gave me the mentality that it was just a normal way of life."

Those college years away from home were difficult for a lot of reasons. She had three small children — two in diapers, one in elementary school — as well as a full-time University class schedule and a part-time job as a housekeeper.

"I wore many masks back then and clothing that would cover the bruises," she remembers. "Despite the darkness that I was living in, I was a great student; I knew that no matter what, I HAD to succeed. I knew there was more to my future than what I was living, so I kept working hard."

While searching for an elective class during this time, she came across a one-credit, 20-hour IMPACT self-defense class that could be done over a weekend. That single credit changed her life forever. It helped give her the confidence to leave her abusive relationship and inspired her to bring IMPACT classes to other Native women in her community.

I walked into class on a Friday thinking that I would simply learn how to handle a person trying to rob me, and I walked out on a Sunday evening with a voice so powerful that I could handle the most passive attacks to my being, along with physical attacks."

It didn't take long for her to notice the difference the class was making in her life.

"I was setting boundaries and people were either respecting them or not, but I was able to acknowledge who was worth keeping in my life and who wasn't," she says.

Following the class, she also joined a roller derby league where she met many other powerful women who inspired her — and during that summer, she found the courage to leave her abuser.

"As afraid as I was, I finally had the courage to report the abuse to legal authorities, and I had the support of friends and family who provided comfort for my children and I during this time," she says.

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Often, parents of children with special needs struggle to find Halloween costumes that will accommodate medical equipment or provide a proper fit. And figuring out how to make one? Yikes.

There's good news; shopDisney has added new ensembles to their already impressive line of adaptive play costumes. And from 8/30 - 9/26, there's a 20% off sale for all costume and costume accessory orders of $75+ with code Spooky.

When looking for the right costume, kids with unique needs have a lot of extra factors to consider: wheelchair wheels get tangled up in too-long material, feeding tubes could get twisted the wrong way, and children with sensory processing disorders struggle with the wrong kind of fabric, seams, or tags. There are a lot of different obstacles that can come between a kid and the ability to wear the costume of their choice, which is why it's so awesome that more and more companies are recognizing the need for inclusive creations that make it easy for everyone to enjoy the magic of make-believe.

Created with inclusivity in mind, the adaptive line is designed to discreetly accommodate tubes or wires from the front or the back, with lots of stretch, extra length and roomier cut, and self-stick fabric closures to make getting dressed hassle-free. The online shop provides details on sizing and breaks down the magical elements of each outfit and accessory, taking the guesswork out of selecting the perfect costume for the whole family.

Your child will be able to defeat Emperor Zurg in comfort with the Buzz Lightyear costume featuring a discreet flap opening at the front for easy tube access, with self-stick fabric closure. There is also an opening at the rear for wheelchair-friendly wear, and longer-length inseams to accommodate seated guests. To infinity and beyond!

An added bonus: many of the costumes offer a coordinating wheelchair cover set to add a major boost of fun. Kids can give their ride a total makeover—all covers are made to fit standard size chairs with 24" wheels—to transform it into anything from The Mandalorian's Razor Crest ship to Cinderella's Coach. Some options even come equipped with sounds and lights!

From babies to adults and adaptive to the group, shopDisney's expansive variety of Halloween costumes and accessories are inclusive of all.

Don't forget about your furry companions! Everyone loves to see a costumed pet trotting around, regardless of the occasion. You can literally dress your four-legged friend to look like Sven from Frozen, which might not sound like something you need in your life but...you totally do. CUTENESS OVERLOAD.

This year has been tough for everyone, so when a child gets that look of unfettered joy that comes from finally getting to wear the costume of their dreams, it's extra rewarding. Don't wait until the last minute to start looking for the right ensemble!


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