Former state senate candidate and public bank advocate Jackie Fielder recently launched a political action committee, Daybreak PAC, and has shifted some campaign organizing infrastructure toward a vaccine access effort. Some phone bank volunteers now make calls to seniors living in neighborhoods like the Bayview, to ask if they would like to get vaccinated and if they face any barriers to doing so.
On the sidewalk in front of the San Francisco Department of Public Health on Thursday morning, a dozen or so activists stood holding yellow signs reading “Isolation kills, too!” Julie Schneider, the field service coordinator for the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, was one of these advocates for residents of facilities like nursing homes, who have been calling for in-person visitation in long-term care to resume promptly. “Civic” spoke with Schneider and volunteer ombudsman Richard Correia at the demonstration. “If you spend enough time around people that are in the end stages of their life, there are things that keep them going. And then there are times when, you know, they lose the will,” Correia said. One of those things is seeing loved ones, he said.
Youth mental health was a growing concern even before the pandemic, but the isolation of sheltering in place has come with an increase in depression and unhappiness among young people. San Francisco high school students have been reaching out to one another despite schools being closed to offer some support. Alan Wang, Joyce Truong and Abigail Ault, who have been active in peer wellness programs, shared their perspectives with “Civic.”
North East Medical Services has multiple clinics in San Francisco and around the Bay Area, serving some 70,000 patients at 10 clinics in the region, many of whom are low-income Chinese speakers. Kenneth Tai, chief health officer, and Jessica Ho, government affairs and community liaison for North East Medical Services, talked with “Civic” about their vaccine distribution strategy.
In response to the disjointed publication of information from various clinics, providers and governments, a group of volunteers with some technical skills collaborated to build a statewide resource for finding vaccine appointments, now known as VaccinateCA.
A series of violent crimes against Asian seniors in the Bay Area has sparked concern and calls to action, including public gatherings. In San Francisco and Oakland, organizers arranged for socially distanced events over the weekend to emphasize the need for additional resources and services to advance public safety.
George Koster, host of the podcast and radio show “Voices of the Community,” returned to “Civic” to talk about new research on how the nonprofit sector is faring during the pandemic and share stories from nonprofit leaders he has interviewed about how they’re handling current economic challenges. Nationwide, nonprofit organizations represent the third largest job sector, with 1.3 million nonprofits employing more than 13 million people. According to recent research by Candid — an organization that conducts research about and manages databases and other tools for nonprofits and the philanthropic sector — based on a several scenarios, some 34,000 nonprofit organizations are likely to close due to the pandemic, with a worst-case scenario projecting nearly 120,000 closures across the U.S. Koster spoke with representatives from Candid about their research. “In California, the median is around 1,525, nonprofits that would go out,” Koster said. “And then in their worst-case scenario, around 42,013, nonprofits would go out — would just literally go away.”
Koster looked into research on local nonprofit arts organizations.
Nearly a year into the pandemic, Undocufund has raised $3.7 million, and distributed $3.3 million, and since many recipients are families, those grants have benefitted more than 10,000 people, fund organizers estimated. But thousands of applications remain to be processed.
Neighborhood vaccination sites are part of an effort to bring resources to those who have been most affected by the pandemic. The Mission District, and the city’s Latino population, have seen disproportionate infection rates and deaths from the virus. Latino Task Force Health Committee Chair Jon Jacobo spoke with “Civic” about the launch.
Portia Li had been covering San Francisco’s Chinese community for the World Journal, a large Chinese-language newspaper, since 1986. She was laid off in April. Li told “Civic” that readers who missed her byline encouraged her to start her own newspaper.
Newsrooms across the country have been in overdrive most of this year, covering a global pandemic, a primary and a presidential election and protests against systemic racism and police brutality. Contributors with YR Media, a national network of young journalists and artists, many of them people of color, have been covering the events of 2020 with reporting and perspectives that are rarely afforded space and attention in national or corporate outlets.