Philadelphia is set to enter the “green” phase of reopening on July 3 following over three months of economic closure due to COVID-19. Although many businesses will reopen and summer activities will begin or resume, it is important to remind ourselves that COVID-19 has not disappeared, and specific action will be required to ensure sustained declines in transmission and avoid rapid reclosure. The COVID-19 resource page on the Philadelphia Family Pride website is now updated with COVID-19 related resources within Philadelphia and the surrounding counties, in addition to information on virtual programming and social-distance friendly summer activities for families with children of all ages. In addition to the newly shared resources, we would like to share some information on two key efforts for expanding and sustaining reopening goals, which will require everyone’s cooperation to be successful – masking and contact tracing.
Regular use of masks in public spaces has become common practice over the last few months. Pennsylvania and New Jersey are among the 15 states plus Washington D.C. in which masks are required in any essential business, a trend which will likely continue as the states reopen. Although rules behind masking may seem arbitrary at times, emerging research continues to demonstrate the effectiveness of masking in preventing transmission of COVID-19, which will prove a key strategy for sustaining economic reopening. A recent study out of the University of Iowa’s College of Public Health evaluating the effectiveness of masking based on state mandates for public use found a significant decline in daily COVID-19 grown rate after orders were enacted requiring community masking. These effects increased over time, with an estimated 230,000 - 450,000 COVID-19 cases possibly averted because of masking mandates made between March 31 and May 22. Of the 20 states that required essential employee masking, but not community-wide masking, changes in county-level COVID-19 grown rates were small and insignificant, thus suggesting that community-wide masking policies are the only effective mask-based measures for slowing transmission. Thus, sustaining reopening plans in Pennsylvania and New Jersey will require all of us to adhere closely and conservatively with masking policies.
contact tracing: what to expect if you get the call
In addition to consistent masking, another key reopening strategy will include active participation in contact tracing. Many of you have likely heard some buzz around Contact Tracing, an emerging effort to identify and track individuals who may have encountered someone who tested positive for COVID-19. Prior to joining the PFP team, I spent some time volunteering with Penn Medicine’s Public Health COVID-19 Response Team, and wanted to share my experience so folks know what to expect if they receive a call.
Contact tracing involves two arms of efforts, one - identifying and interviewing positive “cases” on where and to whom they’ve been in contact within the two weeks prior to becoming ill, and two - calling potentially exposed “contacts” to inform them of their exposure and give guidance on how to slow the spread of transmission. If you test positive for the virus following testing at a Penn Medicine facility or drive-thru center, or are identified as a contact, here are some explanations to common questions I have experienced through my work as a tracer. Please note, this guide is based on my personal experience with Penn Medicine and although many contact tracers follow similar operations, your experience may be different based on where you (or the positive case) got tested.
To reiterate, none of your information is shared outside of the contact tracing system and the Department of Public Health. Through the work contact tracers have done so far, we have saved lives and stopped the spread of disease, likely a piece of why Philadelphia’s case rates continue to decline. However, none of that work is possible without the trust and cooperation of the people we are calling. I hope this clarification will ease confusion regarding contact tracing and help you be more prepared if someone calls you. For more information, please see Penn Today’s recent article regarding contact tracing.
Post written by Taylor Goldberg, PFP Intern
Happy Juneteenth. Juneteenth is a celebration and remembrance of the announcement that the last of the enslaved people in the confederacy were free, over two years following the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous day occurred on June 19, 1865, when General Gordon Granger, alongside 2,000 Union troops, arrived in Galveston Bay, Texas and issued order No. 3, establishing the Union Army’s authority over the people of Texas, and thus freeing the remaining 250,000 enslaved individuals in the state. The day became known as “Juneteenth” by the newly freed people in Texas.
Of course, the announcement of freedom and order No. 3 did not result in instant prosperity for the newly freed individuals, who continued to endure violence and forced labor at the hands of white people despite their legal independence. However, Juneteenth provided a day for the Black people of Texas, with the aid of the Freedmen’s Bureau, to rally around, celebrating resilience and hope in the face of over 200 years of enslavement. As Black people presently continue to strive for equality and true liberation 155 years following order No.3, Juneteenth remains a day of vibrant celebration throughout the United States.
Although originating in Texas, migrations of Black people throughout the United States spread celebrations across the country. Today, parades and festivals are held annually in many major cities, and the momentous day is celebrated with family reunions, visits to African American historical museums and sites, readings and discussions of historical literature, and many more activities. You can find ways to celebrate Juneteenth in Philadelphia with your family here.
This year marks the first year that Juneteenth is recognized as a city-wide holiday in Philadelphia and is observed statewide in Pennsylvania. Many workplaces are participating by pausing work for the day to reflect upon and explore anti-racist media and materials. I have compiled some great resources, including those specifically geared to parenting. I hope you find the materials informative and helpful.
Additionally, PFP is co-sponsoring the Philly Queer March for Black Lives this Sunday, June 21st at 1:30pm starting at Love Park. This event will connect members of local Black and LGBTQ+ communities and their allies to march in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement in Philadelphia. We will center and celebrate the intersection of Black and LGBTQ+ communities by recommitting to the fundamental principles guiding the first “Pride” and the Stonewall Riots of 1969. Speakers will share personal perspectives and emphasize the importance of equality and visibility for all, specifically highlighting our Black and Brown siblings. Please see the Facebook event page for more information.
SAFETY NOTE: This is a peaceful event, is unpermitted and will *not* be coordinated with law enforcement. Social distancing, wearing masks and taking other COVID-19 health and safety precautions is essential at this event.
Post written by Taylor Goldberg, PFP Intern
Help us welcome Taylor Goldberg (she/her/hers) to the Philadelphia Family Pride team as a summer intern through the Bridging the Gaps Community Health Internship Program (BTGCHIP). BTGCHIP is an interdisciplinary program for graduate-level trainees in healthcare and social services which aims to deliver health-related support to marginalized populations across Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
As the realities of COVID-19 have forced the program to run remotely, Taylor will serve as an organizational support for Philadelphia Family Pride from home four days a week, spending one day per week with other BTGCHIP students in curricular sessions focused on improving healthcare delivery for vulnerable populations.
Taylor is a rising second-year student in the Master of Social Work program at the University of Pennsylvania specializing in Healthcare Social Work. She received her bachelor's degree in Psychology from Temple University in 2017 and served as a Clinical Research Assistant in the Division of Rheumatology at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia prior to attending graduate school. Her interests include adolescent medicine, reproductive health, long term management of chronic disease, interdisciplinary medical care, and the intersections of mental and physical health. She has been a lifelong ally of the LGBTQIA+ community and is excited to learn more about the unique challenges in parenting and prospective parenting within this group.
Taylor grew up in Willow Grove, PA and currently lives in South Philadelphia with her two friends and a very demanding (but cute) cat. She enjoys spending time with her boyfriend, cooking, traveling, and visiting her favorite Philadelphia restaurants. She comes from a family of Philadelphia Eagles fans and never misses a game. She is looking forward to a great summer with Philadelphia Family Pride!
The board and leadership of Philadelphia Family Pride writes today to say, emphatically, that Black Lives Matter. We (re)affirm that the on-going, systematic, state-sanctioned violence against Black people by this country is a crime that cannot continue and that an end to white supremacy is long, long overdue.
As an organization dedicated to LGBTQ families, we feel called to remind our community that the history of LGBTQ rights is filled with “violent” protests, property destruction, riots, and many other responses to the unjust oppression of a people. This is not the time to worry about methods. It has been 520 years since the first African people were kidnapped and enslaved in the Americas. 520 years of state-sanctioned genocide in one form or another, from enslavement to the prison industrial complex. The Boston Tea party was a property destroying protest; the Boston Massacre started with rocks thrown at soldiers. We celebrate those riots as acts of patriotism and bravery – and they were just fighting about taxes and voting rights. How can any reaction to 520 years of violence be seen as anything but justified?
To those in our community who may say that racism is not the work of an LGBTQ organization, we remind you that we are a vibrant multi-racial community. And that, sadly, our community is not immune to racism and white supremacy. Much of the work for LGBTQ liberation has been (and continues to be) led by people of color, only for those people and their critical work to be erased. If we as an LGBTQ community do not stand against racism, we abandon ourselves, our families, our history, our community.
To those of us who are not Black – we will be re-posting reading lists and other resources for educating ourselves and our children and taking appropriate action on our Facebook page. The first and most tangible way to support this fight is to provide resources to those on the front lines. Consider supporting the following grassroots organizations:
Philly Community Bail Fund https://www.phillybailout.com/
Black Lives Matter, Philly Chapter: http://www.blmphilly.com/donate/
Black & Brown Workers Cooperative: http://blackandbrownworkerscoop.org/
Black Visions Collective: https://secure.everyaction.com/4omQDAR0oUiUagTu0EG-Ig2
Reclaim The Block: https://secure.everyaction.com/zae4prEeKESHBy0MKXTIcQ2
Minnesota Freedom Fund: https://minnesotafreedomfund.org/donate