The COVID-19 vaccine rollout in Allegheny County — like in most communities across the country — has been fraught with obstacles that make getting the vaccine harder for those at most risk of serious illness and death from the virus.
I vividly remember the moment I first heard that Joe Biden had chosen Kamala Harris to run for vice president on his ticket. My mother excitedly told my sisters and me that Kamala Harris, a half Indian, half Black woman, could possibly be our future vice president. I was thrilled to hear the news. In the history of the United States, there has never been a woman as vice president, let alone a woman of color, and she is half Indian like me! I remember telling my friends who were also biracial, and we were all equally excited.
If the political climate of the United States is confusing for adults, imagine how staggeringly overwhelming it is for children. How exactly are local kids understanding this election? We asked them directly.
Parents are trying to wrap their heads around how they will work while helping their kids complete distance learning, or processing just what schools will look like if our kids do go in person during COVID-19. But what do the kids think?
A coalition of religious leaders successfully lobbied 30 years ago for places of worship to be exempt from the Americans with Disabilities Act [ADA]. Many local faith leaders have since worked to make practices and spaces welcoming for congregants of all abilities, but challenges to accessibility remain.
Before the pandemic, 9-year-old Landon Whitewood had a packed schedule that included Cub Scouts, swimming lessons, karate and hanging out with friends. Adopted from the foster care system as a toddler, his mothers Deb and Susan Whitewood of South Fayette have also prioritized time for trauma therapy through Three Rivers Adoption Council. He also participates in family-focused therapy and art therapy through Wesley Family Services three days a week. When Pittsburgh began to shut down as it faced the COVID-19 pandemic in mid-March, all of these activities ceased for the Whitewood family — except for therapy. They knew that it would be absolutely essential to have access to mental health services during an international crisis.
At the state level, Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration has formed a task force to examine the impact of COVID-19 on minority groups. In announcing the task force on April 15, Wolf noted that outbreaks in Pennsylvania have impacted communities that don’t speak English.
Iconic Pittsburgher Fred Rogers encouraged people to “look for the helpers” in scary situations. As Pittsburgh, along with the rest of the world, pauses to practice social distancing to halt the spread of the novel coronavirus, kids across the metro region find themselves out of school. Playgrounds are surrounded in caution tape; libraries and museums are closed; and play dates are strongly discouraged. Who, then, are the helpers? Obviously, there are our first responders, our medical workers and our other essential workers.