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OLA Of Eastern Long Island Keeping Latino Communities Informed

OLA is ensuring that homebound and otherwise vulnerable community members receive critical food and medicine. (Photo Courtesy of OLA)

In the wake of this global pandemic, Minerva Perez, Executive Director of OLA of Eastern Long Island, wants to be sure that the Latino community is kept informed, prepared, in touch and able to access any and all information, government and municipal programs and whatever else is required to assist Latino families during COVID-19 - and that information should be in Spanish. Perez joined OLA as a volunteer in 2006, and then ran The Retreat's domestic violence shelter for six years.

The mission of (OLA) states, "Founded in 2002, OLA of Eastern Long Island works to create a more equitable East End for Latino immigrants through advocating for just and inclusive government and school policies; protecting families; nurturing power and unity among Latinos through leadership workshops and other programs; and building bridges among different sectors of the East End community through celebrating arts and culture."

OLA has a volunteer network of more than 40 assisting community members. (Photo Courtesy of OLA)

In that regard, Perez prepared a recent thorough and comprehensive email, outlining all that (OLA) is doing in response to this pandemic and confirmed:
"OLA is regularly sharing public health information in Spanish with Latino members of [our] East End community via social media, including original videos in Spanish and written communications from all levels of government. [We] are working with local municipalities to urge that all COVID-19 information be available in Spanish. Additionally, the NYS Department of Health COVID-19 Hotline has outgoing message in Spanish. Call the Hotline at 1-888-364-3065 for information."
Presently, "A network of 45 volunteers have been mobilized to ensure that homebound and otherwise vulnerable community members (200+ people to date) receive critical food and medicine," according to Perez. 
"OLA is providing 2,000 Chromebooks and needed WiFi for students in eight school districts (to date) so that no child from on the East End is without access to an education during this pandemic. Education is central to our mission to serve the East End. This is made possible with dedicated funds for this purpose."
Additionally, OLA is also working with hospitals to support and amplify information in Spanish about their COVID-19 related protocols in ways that will resonate with Latino community members, thus "Ensuring that all community members have access to information on how best to stop the spread of this virus which is critical for the health of the entire community."
Continuing, Perez relayed, "Our legal team is working to ensure that community members understand the three-month state-mandated moratorium on evictions and continued concern related to illegal lock-outs by working with East End town governments and the New York State Attorney General's office to issue statements in Spanish and with school districts to share information with families."

OLA is providing 2,000 Chromebooks and needed WiFi for students in eight school districts (to date) . (Photo Courtesy of OLA)

Perez further revealed, "OLA continues to urge Suffolk County government to implement a food crisis hotline and to create a coordinated plan with towns and villages for emergency food distribution for homebound families that is safe for all."

Perez also urges all Latino residents: "Me he comprometido a contar en el Censo 2020. ¡Únete a mí!" #EastHamptoncuenta #Southamptoncuenta #LosHamptonscuentan #Cuentaconmigo

For more information call OLA at 631-899-3441 or visit www.olaofeasternlongisland.org and buena suerte to all of us.

Eileen Casey spent many years working in the television and music industries in New York City on the "ABC In Concert" weekly series, as well as several prime time network and cable television specials. An award-winning journalist, editor, and artist, and former Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com, she enjoys staying warm in Charleston and cool in the Hamptons.

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