URGENT: Brainstorming help, please. My primary goal for this morning is to create a structured task list for what people can work on effectively from home, that will support one of these three urgent-need categories:
a) communication around social distancing
b) economic support for social distancing practices
c) support for healthcare workers
I’d love your thoughts, and I’ll keep adding ones that make sense to me back into this list over the course of the day, so we can build out something coherent. Help?
PART A: Communication Around Social Distancing
Problem: Too many people still haven’t seen or understood the full story, the scope of what’s going on, both the immediate need, and the likely long-term 12-18 month situation. There’s still masses of misinformation going around — the idea that “kids can’t catch it,” for example, when in fact, kids are almost certainly massive vectors for infection.
– break it down into demographic groups — what media do these groups consume? How do we get the message out on SnapChat? (20-30-somethings?) (Faculty, can you brainstorm this with your students?) What about Next Door? (older folks?)
– can we build a library of particularly effective informational resources that are already out there? Articles, yes, but also videos and infographics and memes and even humor? (I’d love to have a team of volunteers working on just that piece of it, gathering and sorting information. Librarians? We need you.)
– can we reach out to celebrities to spread the word faster and more effectively? can we get a list of influencers in our genres / fields who are willing to be propagates of critical information? (i.e., I contact John Scalzi and N.K. Jemisin and ask them if they’d be willing to commit to reposting important pieces, and we then put them on the list, and send them a few pieces / day)
– essentially, we need a social media campaign for coronavirus info; are there communications professionals who can step up and volunteer their services? can we wrangle an actual ad agency into setting aside their other projects for a week and working on this?
PART B: Economic Support for Social Distancing Practices
Problem: Too much of America is too poor (and I include most of the supposed ‘middle class’ here) to be able to afford long-term social distancing with jobs at risk, massive unexpected childcare expenses; it is going to take government releasing funding to make the costs feasible without driving families into poverty (which eventually also leads to deaths).
Essential workers in particular need safe and affordable (preferably free) childcare for their kids, so that they’re not sending their kids into contaminated makeshift childcare environments (with elderly parents, for example) and contributing to disease spread.
– who is working on effective lobbying efforts? where should we concentrate our political efforts at the national level?
– who qualifies as essential? Healthcare, obv. Vermont and another Minnesota just classified grocery store workers as essential.
– what can be done at the local level through governmental efforts? Can village and other taxing body reserve funds be tapped to provide essential childcare immediately, to be hopefully replenished by federal funds down the road? (I don’t know how you’d set up a mechanism for this, but for just one example, our library has a few million dollar in the reserve fund, and having it sitting in the bank right now does not make sense to me. Reserves are meant to support in a rainy day — this is the rainy day.)
– what can be done through non-governmental efforts? People are certainly setting up ad hoc networks of childcare, but without organization, many of those may end up contributing to disease spread through the kids going back and forth. Can we create ‘pods’ of co-isolating groups, at least? Can we set up mutual aid spreadsheets, utilizing Google Forms, and give people guidance on how to provide community childcare effectively?
– compile a neighborhood contact list, and make sure every house on your block is on it. Leave the existing list with neighbors who aren’t on it.
Part C: Support for Healthcare Workers
(Ania Kolak notes that she’s willing to help with this section overall)
– free coaching sessions for healthcare workers and first responders (Ania Kolak notes that she’s doing this through a few national/international orgs but would really love to do it locally; also it would make sense to mobilize some other local coaches who would be interested in helping)
– okay, need to take a breath, break from brainstorming for a minute, will come back to edit this more. But feel free to start adding thoughts in the comments.
I’m mostly looking to fill out this set of needs and plans right now, but if anyone wants to take ‘ownership’ of developing or even working on a particular piece of this, please let me know that too.
I think this is my job here. It’s taken me a little time to realize that, but if there’s one thing I’m good at it, it’s seeing a problem, assessing the structure of what the solution should be, and gathering people to fix it. Let’s do this.