On the one hand, most COVID restrictions around wearing masks and social distancing are gone as of this week. On the other hand, this record-breaking heatwave is making it difficult to go out and enjoy a greater sense of freedom.

Think back to last summer when it felt like both the heat and the pandemic would stretch on forever. That was a difficult time for a lot of people. Now we have vaccines and can confidently say the worst of the pandemic is behind us.

It’s great to have California open again, but we can’t forget that in the Coachella Valley and around the country, COVID-19 disproportionately hit already vulnerable populations: communities of color, Latinos, and farmworkers.

Information gathered in Alianza’s focus groups with farmworkers earlier this year confirmed this.

  • 74% of focus group participants said they’d already tested positive for COVID-19
  • 81% said they had received some type of assistance, such as for food or rent
  • 88% had experienced a job loss or reduced hours at work because of COVID
  • 100% reported being financially, physically, and/or emotionally impacted by COVID

These communities won’t rebound immediately so let’s continue to be gracious and generous with our neighbors as everyone reacclimates to pandemic-free living. Masks are still appropriate in some settings, and there is still work being done to stop further spread of COVID. In many parts of Riverside County, between one-third and one-half of adults are not yet fully vaccinated.

COVID Testing and Relief

Our staff and volunteers recently supported COVID testing events at Cesar Chavez and Oasis elementary schools in coordination with FIND Food Bank and its food distribution program. Dozens of people were tested while receiving information about staying healthy and workplace rights amid the pandemic. Many people also received vaccinations provided by partners.

Also, Alianza is again taking applications from undocumented community members for cash assistance coming to the Coachella Valley through the Regional Immigrant Community Support Fund.

To qualify, people must live in the Coachella Valley, not qualify for state or federal relief because of their immigration status, and be facing financial hardships due to COVID-19.

If you know of someone who may qualify and hasn’t already received relief through this fund, encourage them to contact Alianza. To get started, they can text “APOYO” to 47474 or call the office at (760) 972-4628.

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