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Latina activist working to help community in response to Covid-19, the flu, unemployment.

Posted at 6:44 PM, Sep 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-17 21:40:59-04

MILWAUKEE — Luz Sosa and Megan Johnson are busy organizing dozens of diaper donations and other supplies.

“We knew there was a need for diapers, baby wipes, and women’s period supplies,” Sosa said. “They are expensive, and many people don’t think about them when donating food and non-perishables.”

“It’s something we’re really passionate about and excited to do,” Johnson said.

Johnson co-founded the Milwaukee Diaper Mission, to provide free diapers and other supplies to social service organizations. Sosa works directly with some of those organizations. As a community organizer, she has been trying to help the local Latino community with Covid-19, and the financial toll the pandemic has taken.

“Most Latinos are essential workers, they can’t take a day off or say 'I’m going to stay home,'” Sosa said. “There were many people at the beginning of this pandemic, who were asymptomatic and spreading the virus.”

Milwaukee’s south side, 53215 zip code, which has more Latinos than any other zip code in Wisconsin, is still struggling with the Covid-19 and its financial repercussions. Milwaukee’s Hispanic and Latino community still accounts for the most cases of Covid-19 in the city, compared to other ethnicities, with nearly 7,000 cases since the pandemic began.

Sosa believes Covid-19 awareness and education targeted at Latinos is improving, and that the mask mandate helped.

Helping her community has become even more personal for her, after she contracted Covid-19 last month and had to isolate from her family and young children, before recovering.

“It was bad,” she said. “I ended up in the hospital. I was surprised at sick I felt. It proves even if you’re a healthy person, the virus can still really affect you. I’m still very tired. Although I have tested negative, my doctor said it could take a couple months to feel better.”

And now, there’s an additional message that she and other leaders are trying to spread quickly through the Latino community: get your flu shot.

“There needs to be consistent, targeted strategies for our Spanish-speaking communities,” said Milwaukee Health Commissioner Dr. Jeanette Kowalik. “Community organizers and organizations are very helpful in helping us increase information and access to vaccinations. We know people are not always getting the message from city government or mainstream media.”

“We have to deal with this virus, plus the flu that’s coming this fall and winter,” Sosa said. “I think the worst is still coming, unfortunately. We really need to help each other any way we can.”

Doctors are urging anyone, six months of age and older to get a flu shot as soon as possible, to protect yourself and others. And to prevent hospitals from becoming overloaded due to the ongoing pandemic.

If you’d like to help the Milwaukee Diaper Mission, click here.

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