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.
Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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Canva

Prior to European colonization of North America, millions of bison roamed the Great Plains. By the turn of the 20th century, those numbers had dropped to less than 1,000. The deliberate decimation of buffalo herds was a direct attack on the Native American people, who colonizers saw as an obstacle to their "Manifest Destiny," and who the U.S. government engaged in a systematic attempt to eliminate or force into docile submission.

For thousands of years, bison were a sacred, inseparable part of life for Indigenous tribes of the Great Plains, used for food, shelter, utensils, and clothing, in addition to spiritual and emotional well-being. Wiping out the bison population nearly wiped out the Native tribes they were connected to.

Though bison numbers have increased significantly thanks to conservation efforts, governments are still grappling with the ugly legacy, and some municipalities are taking steps to try to repair some of the damage done. As one example, the city of Denver, Colorado has taken the step of giving some of the city's bison population managed by Denver Parks and Recreation to Native American tribes engaged in bison conservation efforts.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less