Things That Matter

Street Vendors Are Struggling So They’re Banding Together To Get The Help They Deserve

Neighborhoods in cities across the United States owe much of their character and energy to street vendors. From LA’s Echo Park to New York’s Queens, these neighborhoods are buzzing with energy thanks to the street life and activity provided by street vendors.

So many of us who are lucky enough to live in areas like this would venture outside for raspados or paletas, mango sprinkled with limón and Tajín, or hot dogs, elotes, and so much more.

Now, the Coronavirus pandemic has put these communities at risk as it’s decimated the livelihoods of street vendors.

Covid-19 has ravaged the world’s street vendor communities and they need help and they need it now.

Lockdowns being enforced across the globe have thrown the world’s two-billion informal workers into turmoil – and street vendors, whose livelihoods rely on being in public spaces – have been particularly hard hit.

Street vendors provide essential services in cities across the globe, particularly in South America and lower income areas of the U.S., where residents rely on them for basic needs. They are part of a vast informal food system that keeps much of the world from going hungry. But the pandemic has devastated the livelihoods of street vendors, disrupting their ability to do their jobs and leaving many in a fight for survival. 

In a report by Latino Rebels, Newarks’ Ferry Street is described as a place buzzing with activity for the pandemic. Now, only one ice cream cart was operating on a corner, owned by an Ecuadorian immigrant, Silvia Samuel.

“It was very hard. I used to sell all of my ice cream in a hot day like this. Now, I am barely finishing a bucket,” said Samuel as she was getting ready to go back home. “Nobody is around as before. I pray to God for this to end so we can go back to normal.”

Their situation is made worse because many are undocumented immigrants – making them ineligible for many state and federal benefits.

Credit: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Many vendors – much like Samuel – are unable to access state and federal programs due to their legal status. This makes it hard to afford to get by day to day and have made many feel fearful for the future.

In New York City, the Street Vendor Project estimates there are approximately 20,000 vendors in NYC alone, and most of them are migrants, people of color, or veterans – communities already at increased risk for Coronavirus-related issues. And many of them were already struggling before the pandemic hit, so the impact of lockdown orders has only intensified the problem.

“Street vendors are generally not eligible for state-sponsored benefits or support like paid sick leave and unemployment insurance, or even small business relief funds. For workers in informal economies, this is a dire situation, leaving many with fear and confusion as to how they will support themselves and their families in the days, weeks and months to come,” according to the Street Vendor Project.

“90% of our members are low-wage immigrant workers who rely on busy streets in order to survive day to day. Without a safety net to fall back on, they are forced to continue to work, risking their health and well-being in the process,” they added.

However, a coalition of street vendors is working together to demand the protections they deserve.

Credit: omgitsjustintime / Instagram

Despite being ineligible for several aid programs and being fearful for their futures, a group of street vendor organizations is working to demand more protections.

The National Agenda for Street Vendor Justice was created to put together a united Plato from based on the immediate socio-economic needs of the street vendor community. They hope to set the stage for a “foundation for an equitable national economy that values the contributions of street vendor small businesses.”

The coalition is asking local and federal governments to offer incentives to all small businesses – including street vendors. They also are asking that all information be made available in different languages; to forgive all outstanding fines in 2020; to work towards naturalizing immigrants and refugees so they can access healthcare and financial benefits; and full access to emergency testing and healthcare.

The demands are what all other small businesses already have access to, the group is only asking for fair treatment under the law.

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

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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.

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As El Paso Becomes A Covid-19 Hotspot, One Nurse Says The Most Severe Patients Are Being Left To Die In “The Pit”

Things That Matter

As El Paso Becomes A Covid-19 Hotspot, One Nurse Says The Most Severe Patients Are Being Left To Die In “The Pit”

Cengiz Yar / Getty Images

Cities across the United States are experiencing the worst yet of the Coronavirus pandemic. From California to New York, the country is struggling. However, one area that has emerged as a severe hot spot for the virus is El Paso, Texas.

The city has emerged as one of the nation’s hardest-hit regions. To put it into perspective, El Paso has more active Covid-19 infections than the entire country of Mexico.

In addition to a major spike in cases, the city is also seeing an increase in Covid-19 deaths that is seriously overwhelming healthcare workers, public health officials, and the network of morgues. It’s so bad that the city was using inmates to help transport bodies until the Texas’ governor finally deployed the National Guard to assist.

El Paso is emerging as the face of the second wave in the U.S. and the scenes are terrifying.

The El Paso community is struggling to control it’s severe spike in Covid-19 cases as it becomes a national hot spot for the pandemic. As infection rates rise, El Paso has registered more active Covid-19 cases than the entire country of Mexico.

El Paso (a city of 840,000 people) has 34,487 active cases while Mexico (a nation of 129 million) has 23,284. Although, it’s worth noting that many say Mexico’s actual number could be as many as ten times higher thanks to a severely-limited testing program.

El Paso’s government has attempted to get ahead of the virus and had implemented a wide-ranging stay-at-home order that called for hair salons, gyms and restaurant dine-in services to close. However, a court ruling last week by the 8th Circuit struck down that order, putting thousands of lives at risk.

One nurse went viral after telling her story inside “the pit” where many victims are left to die.

One nurse who worked in an El Paso hospital has gone viral after sharing her harrowing story from inside a Covid-19 hospital. In a nearly hourlong Facebook Live video, Lawanna Rivers, a traveling nurse, said that her time spent at the University Medical Center of El Paso was the worst experience she’s had since the pandemic began.

“Out of all the COVID assignments I’ve been on, this one here has really left me emotionally scarred,” she said. “The facility I’m at has surpassed the one I was at in New York.”

Rivers was most upset about how the sickest patients at the hospital were treated. She said they were all put into an area called a “pit,” where they are essentially left to die.

“My first day at orientation, I was told that whatever patients go into the pit, they only come out in a body bag,” Rivers said.

Rivers said doctors at the hospital would not enter the area, and nurses like herself who were stationed in them were under orders to perform CPR just three times on a patient before letting them die.

Rivers said she learned that doctors wouldn’t enter the pit when she called a physician for help one day with a patient who was bleeding profusely. She said the doctor told her they don’t go into the rooms for the sickest COVID-19 patients, so as to not expose themselves to the disease.

Inmates are joining the frontlines as they help to move the bodies of Covid-19 victims.

Credit: Justin Hammel / Getty Images

As the city struggled to manage the spiraling number of infections and deaths, inmates at the County Detention Facility were called upon to assist the El Paso Medical examiner with the overflow of bodies at the morgue.

Inmates were seen in full PPE gear assisting mobile morgues with the rising body count. A spokesperson for the county did not further detail exactly what the inmates were being asked to do but that they were being paid $2 per hour and were serving time for low-level sentences. The county also defended the decision to use inmate labor, saying it was either that or force families to wait even longer to start funeral arrangements.

The National Guard has been called upon to help work in mortuaries.

Credit: Ivan Aguirre / Getty Images

After El Paso resorted to using county jail inmates to move bodies for nearly two weeks, the Texas Army National Guard is sending a 36-person team to assist with mortuary services.

“This is very much needed in our community, and we’re really thankful for [the Texas Division of Emergency Management] and the governor’s action on this,” Democratic state Rep. and Sen.-elect César Blanco said Friday.

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