Tak­ing care of each other on the coast

Fort Bragg Advocate-News - - FRONT PAGE - By Lu­cre­sha Ren­te­ria Submitted

Here in our sleepy lit­tle coastal towns, we can of­ten es­cape the com­plex chal­lenges of the wider world, but not this time. Right now, our coun­try is reel­ing from the COVID-19 pan­demic and the im­pacts of racial in­jus­tice. Although we don’t have a lot of cases on the coast, COVID-19 is here and the num­bers are likely to in­crease as the shel­ter-in-place re­stric­tions con­tinue to lift. And make no mis­take, we have racial bias and racially mo­ti­vated vi­o­lence here, too.

Each of us has to de­cide how to re­spond to th­ese chal­lenges. Some peo­ple will put their heads down and go about their daily lives as though none of this af­fects them. Others will march in the streets in hopes of chang­ing a bro­ken sys­tem.

At Men­do­cino Coast Clin­ics, we are a di­verse group of em­ploy­ees ded­i­cated to im­prov­ing health eq­uity in the com­mu­ni­ties we serve. We do this by as­sur­ing that no one who needs med­i­cal care is turned away be­cause of the color of their skin, be­cause they can­not af­ford to pay, be­cause of who they love, be­cause of the lan­guage they speak, or be­cause of their im­mi­gra­tion sta­tus.

We do not judge pa­tients who suf­fer from men­tal ill­ness or sub­stance use dis­or­der. We do not judge pa­tients who strug­gle with obe­sity or eat­ing dis­or­ders. We do not judge pa­tients who have un­in­tended preg­nan­cies. We do not judge pa­tients who live on the street. We open our hearts to all who want to heal. We meet pa­tients wher­ever they are in life’s jour­ney and we help them get health­ier.

Even be­fore COVID-19, many peo­ple in our coastal com­mu­ni­ties faced eco­nomic chal­lenges and poor health. With the shut­down, things have only wors­ened. So, what do we do?

We take things one day at a time. We work with what we have. We help each other.

One way we can im­prove our com­mu­nity’s eco­nomic well-be­ing is for ev­ery sin­gle per­son to get counted in the 2020 Cen­sus. The cen­sus is im­por­tant be­cause cen­sus data help us get our tax dol­lars back into our com­mu­nity. The gov­ern­ment uses cen­sus data to de­ter­mine how fed­eral funds are

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