7 things Texans can do to help our state survive and thrive during the coronavirus pandemic

Image Credit
Jordan Vonderhaar for the Texas Tribune
A lot of this advice boils down to just being a decent human being.

As our state and nation face the coronavirus pandemic, here are some steps that all of us can take to continue to promote progress: 

1. Verify information before you share it.  

During a crisis, misinformation tends to run rampant. It is important that for others’ health and safety as well as our own, that we verify all information before we share it and rely heavily on information from reputable sources. 

One note: Trump is not one of those sources. We recommend the CDC, reputable news providers, and local governments.

2. Keep holding those in power accountable.  

While a mass protest or rally would be ill-advised under these circumstances, there are other ways to continue to hold those in power accountable. For example, Progress Texas recently started a petition calling on Texas Governor Greg Abbott to institute universal vote-by-mail to protect the right to vote during the pandemic. You can sign and share the petition here. 

We must keep an eye out for digital actions involving issues like this and continue to come up with creative ways to hold those in power accountable to ensure our voices are heard.

Some ideas:

  • Sign and share petitions
  • Tune in to virtual trainings
  • Call your representatives
  • Call out lawmakers on social media
  • Insist on digital town halls so that lawmakers can answer questions from constituents

3. Be kind to those working on the front lines. 

This should go without saying, but the people working on the front lines of this pandemic deserve to be treated with respect and compassion. While this includes nurses, doctors, and those working in health care, it also includes folks working at grocery stores, restaurants, and any other place of business that is having to remain open during this pandemic. 

Some of us have the privilege of working from home or staying in, while others are not as lucky. We must recognize the sacrifices and challenges others are facing, and humble ourselves. 

4. Fill out the census!

Since most of us are spending our time at home anyways, now is the perfect time to fill out the 2020 census. If it hasn’t already, the census should be arriving in your mailbox soon. As soon as it arrives, you can respond to it online, by phone, or by mail. The sooner you respond, the less of a chance that a census taker will show up at your door. 

Let’s all work together to ensure a complete and accurate count by filling out the census immediately. And when you’re done, remind your friends and family members to do the same!

5. Call out racism and xenophobia. 

If we’ve learned anything from previously mishandled pandemics in our country, it’s that diseases do not discriminate. Just as the homophobia and transphobia queer folks were forced to endure during the AIDs pandemic was wrong, so too is the racism and xenophobia being directed at immigrants and Asian Americans in our nation today. 

The fact is, this is a worldwide pandemic. People of all backgrounds and countries across the world are experiencing this crisis. This pandemic should not be used as an excuse to be racist and promote anti-immigrant sentiment. 

We must call out this racism and xenophobia wherever we see it. Whether it’s coming from politicians, community leaders, friends, or family members, it is wrong.

6. If you are able, give back to your community and support those in need.

Many folks are losing work or are struggling because of the impact the virus has had on our economy and society. We must recognize these changes and work to support those in need. 

With the understanding that not everyones’ situations look the same, we are simply encouraging folks to evaluate their own, and reflect on where you think you can give back.

Here are a few examples of ways to give back: 

  • Offer a reference to a friend who lost a job
  • Pick up groceries for an elderly neighbor or immunocompromised friend
  • Donate money directly to people who have lost their jobs
  • Check in with friends or family members who are struggling with being alone during this crisis
  • Share important information with your grandparents or seniors who might not be on the internet or social media
  • Encourage social distancing in your friend groups
  • Donate to your local food bank
  • Support emergency housing funds and homeless shelters
  • Contribute to your favorite local arts organization or nonprofit

This is not an exhaustive list, and it’s really up to you to determine whether you have the capacity or available resources to help. 

7. Protect yourself and others from the virus.  

This step is really just a catch-all for the advice coming from the CDC and medical professionals. There is currently no vaccine to prevent the coronavirus, so the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus in the first place. 

Here are some ways to help prevent the spread of COVID-19: 

  • Social distance as you are able
  • Wash your hands often (and for at least 20 seconds each time)
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Avoid close contact with others
  • Stay home if you’re sick (except to get medical care)
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces

Remember, we are all interconnected. It is our duty to follow the advice coming from qualified medical professionals in order to stay healthy, keep others healthy, and prevent the spread of the disease.