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PVI updates for June 2020

Supporting ArteVism fellows and Protecting Each Other during the COVID-19 pandemic

Mascarillas made by Syrian women for farmworkers
Mascarillas made by Syrian women for farmworkers Photo: / AFSC

The ArteVism program is ongoing with the respective challenges of doing trainings, meetings and events online. As with many youth, the ArteVism fellows express constant distress seeing what is going on around us, not only with COVID-19, but also the horrific acts of white supremacy and the civic outrage fueled by racist oppression. The fellows are very appreciative of the space we are providing, even if it is virtual. During these disconcerting times, the ArteVism program helps them to stay connected, build community and dream collectively of a new world. 

We continue our COVID-19 activities through our Protecting Each Other project that includes mask making by Syrian refugees for farmworkers. The refugees have already finished the masks, and we will be distributing them very soon. We want to thank our Program Committee member Vickie Fouts for taking the initiative of launching this project and bringing together the organizations implementing the project.

That project has also involved advocating with local and state officials to ensure that testing is accessible and free for essential workers and that employers provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to their workers. Along with other organizations, PVI is in constant communication with the county of Fresno and Madera health officials.

On May 26, 2020, the Pan Valley Institute signed this letter to Governor Gavin Newsom by a group of Central Valley Chicano/Mexican American activists, including Dolores Huerta and several Latinx mayors. The letter was intended to raise the alert that the Central Valley is becoming a hotspot as 328 meatpacking and food processing workers have so far tested positive for COVID-19.