Things That Matter

A Transgender Activist Leader Has Passed Away From Covid-19 And Her Community Mourns A Great Loss

New York City has been ravaged by the Covid-19 pandemic and it has claimed a long list of victims. But one of the most high-profile losses has come this week as the city’s LGBTQ community mourns a major loss.

A pillar of New York City’s Latinx LGBTQ community, Borjas had long been known as a staunch defender of the rights of trans people, Latinx people, undocumented people and sex workers.

And now her beloved NYC LGBTQ community is mourning a huge loss during an already unprecedented crisis.

Beloved NYC transgender advocate Lorena Borjas has died after contracting Covid-19.

Borjas died on Monday, at Coney Island Hospital, in Brooklyn, of complications from Covid-19. Just a few weeks ago, Borjas set up a fund for trans-people who had lost their jobs to COVID-19, the disease caused by novel coronavirus.

She left an orphaned community of transgender women, especially Latina immigrant women in Queens, and countless LGBTQ-rights activists who looked to her for guidance, inspiration, and love.

“Lorena Borjas was a real hero for trans people, especially in Queens. She was a leader, a builder and a healer,” Mara Keisling, the executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said in a statement. “The NCTE family is saddened by her passing and has her broad family and the Queens Latinx community in our hearts today.”

Activists and community leaders across New York City took to social media after the news of her death broke.

Adding an additional level of heartbreak, her memorial was hosted on digital meeting platform Zoom – a departure from her normal community building. More than 200 people attended the online memorial to share in her legacy of community-building, and joined together to take close, personal care of people across the community.

Originally from Mexico, Borjas has been called the mother of the transgender Latinx community in New York.

Credit: @NYCSpeakerCoJo / Twitter

At seventeen, she ran away to Mexico City, where she lived in the streets. At twenty, she crossed the border into the United States, where she hoped she would be able to receive hormone treatments. She made her way to New York City, where she studied for her GED and then studied accounting.

Lorena fought tirelessly for the rights and well-being of LGBTQ people, immigrant communities and sex workers. Lorena Borjas started a mutual aid fund for members of the transgender community who were suffering financial hardship during the coronavirus crisis.

Borjas had been a prominent community organizer and health educator for decades, working to end human trafficking, which she herself survived, according to the Transgender Law Center. In 2017, she received a rare pardon from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo for a conviction she received in the 1990s while being trafficked, with Gov. Cuomo praising her advocacy work in New York state. (The conviction had put Borjas, a Mexican national, at high risk of deportation.)

An outpouring of grief came from all directions.

Credit: Cristina Herrera / Facebook

Her loss has inspired tributes from countless activists and leaders, including Rep.  Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, New York Attorney General Letitia James, New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and blogger Monica Roberts. “Lorena spent her life tirelessly fighting and supporting our trans sisters, making sure they were treated with dignity and respect they deserve,” Make the Road New York, an organization that fights for immigrant and working class communities, said in a statement. “We will truly miss her. May she rest in power and love.”

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

People Are Actually Giving Their Children Honest-To-God Coronavirus-Inspired Names

Fierce

People Are Actually Giving Their Children Honest-To-God Coronavirus-Inspired Names

EZEQUIEL BECERRA / Getty

Inspiration truly does strike at the weirdest moments.

Even in a pandemic.

According to reports from India a couple by the name of Preeti and Vinay Verma, chose to name their newborn twins Covid and Corona in an effort to remember the current pandemic. But it’s not just the parents of India finding inspiration in these dark times. A report out of the Philippines revealed that a pair of parents named their child Covid Bryant– an homage to both the virus and the recently deceased basketball legend Kobe Bryant.

Speaking about their new baby names Preeti Verma said she wanted to ease anxieties related to the names.

“We wished to ease the anxiety and fear associated with these words and also make the occasion memorable,” Preeti said in an interview.

Of course, there’s no doubt COVID-19 will be a defining virus for people across the globe and for generations as well. Speculation that the pandemic will spark a “coronial” generation gained quite a bit of hype. The Brookings Institution, however, estimated that the U.S. birth rate will decline by another 7-10%  this coming year which equates to nearly 300,000 to 500,000 less births. A Guttmacher Institute survey found that “34% of women said they wanted to get pregnant later or wanted fewer children because of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

But what about the babies that are being born during the pandemic? It turns out the pandemic might actually be inspiring more and more of their names. A survey, conducted by ChannelMum.com, recently revealed that 43% of parents believe the coronavirus outbreak will affect what they will name their newborns. The survey also found that 7% of parents have had a change of heart on what to name their children as a result of the pandemic.

For some less morbid name inspiration check out some of the best monikers inspired by lockdown that we could find, below!

Vida

Spanish for “life” which is pretty sweet and optimistic.

Anthony

Some parents might opt to name their children after the voice of wisdom during these strange times.

Cora

Less intense and direct than Corona.

Vira

Vira means “hero” in Hindi.

Tina 

Short for quarantine.,

Demi 

Short for pandemic.

Hope

Much more optimistic in these strange times.

Solita

Spanish for solitude, which a lot of us are experiencing right now.

Stella

Which means “light” and also draws hope.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Hands-Free Cholula Dispensers Have Become a Thing In Restaurants Because of COVID-19

Culture

Hands-Free Cholula Dispensers Have Become a Thing In Restaurants Because of COVID-19

Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

It is a truth universally acknowledged that 2020 has been, well, the year from hell. But, like with any terrible events, there has been a few silver linings. More flexible work schedules. More alone time with family members.

And now, the mother of all silver linings: hands-free Cholula dispensers.

No, we’re not kidding. Earlier this month, the cult-favorite hot sauce brand announced that they have partnered with appliance tech company simplehuman to develop a hands-free dispenser for restaurants. Per Cholula, the invention was made in response to the need for a safer way to dispense hot sauce during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“When restaurant operators began removing Cholula bottles from tabletops amid the pandemic, we needed to develop a solution that could adapt to their new environment,” said Cholula’s CEO, Maura Mottolese, in a press release. “The collaboration between simplehuman and Cholula combines the best in technology and taste to revolutionize the condiment station to meet the needs of the customer and the foodservice industry in the ever-changing landscape that is 2020.”

The invention is–dare we say–genius.

Various video demonstrations of the gadget show that a user need only to hover the hand over the Cholula dispenser to be gifted with a glorious stream of hot sauce coming out of its little faucet.

Additionally, the company revealed that the Cholula dispensers would be available for private commercial purchase. According to Cholula, the Touch-Free dispensers will be available for a limited time on Cholula’s website–just in time for the holidays.

“Cholula diehard consumers will have a rare opportunity to purchase a limited number of Cholula x simplehuman Touch-Free Dispensers, the essential gift for contactless holiday meals, starting December 1, 2020 at www.Cholula.com/handsfree,” wrote the hot sauce brand in a press release.

“Optimized for the best saucing experience, the flash sale promotion, priced at $130, includes a Cholula x simplehuman Touch-Free Dispenser PLUS a half-gallon jug of Cholula Original and free shipping.”

Cholula revealed that 100% of the proceeds will go towards the Independent Restaurant Coalition, which is a “nonprofit formed by notable chefs like Tom Colicchio to save independent restaurants affected by COVID-19.”

Naturally, people are hyped that Cholula is selling the hands-free hot sauce dispenser to customers.

This is the type of gift that keeps on giving.

Honestly, “hot sauce innovation” is exactly the type of innovation we need coming out of 2020.

TBH, we deserve good things right now. Thank you Cholula.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com