It's Maria del Rosario Palacios, your local Hall County activist here volunteering in hopes we can stop the spread of COVID in my home town of Gainesville, GA.
Why I'm Here
I have received multiple complaints against poultry plants in Gainesville who are pressuring COVID positive folks back to work before they’re truly ready to go back. A close friend of my family, named Carlos, went back to work after being out for 4 weeks last week. He was still visibly sick, and infected my family member. This young man, aged 35, passed away on Tuesday and he was at work the day before.
We need your help now to intervene with PPE and emergency relief for both sick families and for those who have lost a loved one to COVID as a result of the inhumane consideration for our workers. Hall County has become a hotspot for COVID, and although the county is only 25% Hispanic, more than 50% of the positive cases are Latinx.
What's going on in these poultry plants and our county?
It's simple - extraneous barriers are in place that do not allow for sick and exposed workers to stay in quarantine.
In the case of my own mother, extended family, and friends - their work's Human Resources Department is not telling the exposed co-workers to get tested and they are asking for quick turnaround times of documentation for folks who are sick to not be fired.
The health care system in Hall County is very flawed. You have to have a PCP in the place you get tested to get documentation for work and be eligible to self-quarantine. If you don’t have a PCP who will place an order, then they refer you to the Health Department to get tested.
The Health Department will not see you the day of and you have to wait 7-10 business days for their results - which again will not give you documentation for work if you have to be out.
This has been my experience, the experience of other friends/family, and the experience of many community member in town. I have spent the last three weeks navigating through this system for my family and I. It’s distressing and exhausting. My own mother is very ill and I spend the majority of my day taking care of her. She has sacrificed her health to the poultry industry for over 20 years and she deserves more dignified treatment than this.
My pain and My Hope
I’m livid. I’m sick and I’m so tired of feeling helpless with workers rights in Gainesville (or anywhere else.) Poultry plants are taking the lives of our people every single day.
With your donation, our team of volunteers will be able to provide urgently needed PPE to poultry workers and immediate financial assistance to their impacted families. We plan to do the following things immediately:
>Provide 2000 mask directly to poultry plant workers by Thursday, June 11
>Provide funeral assistance to at least to the family of Raul Pool (who passed on Saturday) and start a funeral fund for additional families working in poultry AND impacted by COVID in Gainesville.
>Provide mini-grants of $500-$1500 for families who have to self-quarantine with unpaid sick time and are not eligible for unemployment.
My kids need their mom to make it through this. I am the only parent they have and I solely financially provide for them and for some of my extended family that has been separated by our immigration system. I can't do this alone. But with your support, we can have a huge impact on our community.
Please donate what you can and continue to send prayers, thoughts, and actions to me and the other amazing volunteers helping out. You can email us at [email redacted].
In Solidaridad/En Solidaridad,
Maria del Rosario
Here's a video I posted on June 6th.
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