We Must Do Better
We are saddened and outraged that yet another black person has died due to the power of police officers. Brutality and violence (covert and overt) by those in power is a public health problem.

Racism is a public health problem. We need to work together to change the oppressive and racist systems and practices, such as policing, that facilitate violence towards people of color every day in our country.

We, in particular white people, need to call out the injustices we observe each day. We cannot achieve health equity until everyone has the opportunity to be healthy.

Black Lives Matter

To learn more about equity in our region, including how societal inequities may manifest themselves as poor health outcomes, check out these reports:

Many of us are wondering what we can do to help. In a recent blog post , the Collective Impact Forum laid out four ways we can all engage right now:

  1. Listen to communities of color.
  2. Learn and educate yourself about the issues. It is not fair to expect your Black colleagues to teach you right now. There are many books, movies, podcasts, and other resources out there. Check out this list of Anti-racism resources. 
  3. Give money, time, and compassion. Listen to what your community needs. Donate to anti-racist work. Support local businesses and organizations run by people of color.
  4. Center the stories and experiences of black lives and other people of color, and what they are going through. Be cognizant of your own media intake, and follow media outlets and sources that are authored by and for BIPOC communities.

Check out their full blog post for more information.

In our daily lives, we must speak up and intervene if we notice injustices. We must show up and support Black, Indigenous and People of Color. As White folks, we must reflect upon our privilege and explore our own implicit biases. Changing oppressive systems will take time and we will make mistakes, but we must continue to work on it. We must do better.
Photo by Shirley L Rodriguez at the 5/29 Western MA Stand-Out Protest to Stop Killing Black People outside the Springfield Police Department
Data Update
COVID-19 in the Commonwealth
According to MDPH’s COVID-19 Dashboard , COIVD-19 deaths, hospitalizations, the percentage of people testing positive, and the number of hospitals using surge capacity have all declined since April 15 th .  
County-level data available on the MDPH website also continue to suggest a decline in COVID-19 deaths in Western MA since April 21 st when examining 3-day average number of COVID-19 deaths. As noted in a previous newsletter, it will be important to continue monitoring the data as there could be a resurgence of cases as the state reopens and people begin to congregate more.
G raph created by PHIWM using data from MDPH Archive of COVID-19 data   https://www.mass.gov/info-details/archive-of-covid-19-cases-in-massachusetts#may-2020-
Please note that on June 1 st , MDPH began reporting both confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases per guidance from the Centers for Disease Control. This change will increase the number of cases and deaths reported in Massachusetts.

Feedback Requested – Springfield
You may have noticed the newer "ladder" style crosswalks, many bike lanes (so bikes may travel in a lane without cars), SHARROWS painted in traffic lanes (bikes will use the travel lane), different traffic lights, major changes in some intersections, sidewalk repairs, bike racks at Riverfront Park and our libraries. These are all part of a project to make all Streets safer for all users. It's called "Complete Streets".  Complete Streets are streets for everyone. Complete Streets make it easy to cross the street, walk to shops, walk or bicycle to work or to school. Springfield has a Policy and Plan to make its streets COMPLETE. 

The Pioneer Valley Planning Commission is gathering community feedback to inform the next round of priorities for improving walking and bicycling in Springfield using. All are asked to suggest the improvements you want most to make it easier for you to walk or bicycle in your neighborhood, to do errands, have children walk to school, go to the park or place of worship, etc. Consider the following-
  • What crosswalks are needed to help you walk to a park, store, school, etc.?
  • Where is painting and/or redesign of a street needed to slow down vehicles?
  • Where would installation of a shared use path (wide sidewalk) or buffered bike lane encourage you to bicycle to a destination?
  • Where are new or improved sidewalks needed?

You can provide feedback using this online map . You can access this map on your desktop at home, or on your phone when you are out walking around Springfield. Enter the location and type of improvement that you think is needed (crosswalk, bike lane, sidewalk, better lighting for safe walking, etc.), and Submit! If you have problems but have a site you would like to submit, please email the location and a photo or description of the improvement to bbasch@pvpc.org .
Downtown Springfield COVID Brainstorm
Have you been thinking about what changes downtown would help small businesses and our vibrant community succeed in light of COVID? Share your ideas here and we'll work together to try and make them happen!

This survey should take no longer than 10 minutes. Thank you in advance for your creativity and candor.  Take the survey.
Equity Task Force to Release Criteria for an Equitable Reopening
Led by MPHA
WHEN and WHERE:   
Thursday, June 4 th , 9:00am
​WHAT:  The Task Force will release a detailed list of criteria that must be met before moving to Phase Two of reopening to ensure that low wage workers, Black and Latinx communities, and other disproportionately impacted populations are adequately protected.
WHY:  Governor Baker is slated to make an announcement in 6 days about whether to proceed with Phase Two of reopening. Yet, essential workers don’t consistently have access to adequate testing, protective equipment, or workplace protections. We continue to lack meaningful data to track how infection and death rates are trending among Black and Latinx residents. And communities of color and occupational health experts are notably absent from the groups advising Governor Baker on the reopening.
Protect Your Loved one From Opioid Overdose

If you have a loved one who struggles with opioid use disorder, have naloxone (Narcan®) nearby.

Encourage your loved one to be trained, carry naloxone (Narcan®), and tell their friends where they keep it in case they overdose. Learn more: NIH Heal Initiative or at  Tapestry Health .
Substance Use Disorder

Check out the valuable resources for substance use disorder available in our area on 413Cares.org.

Thanks for Participating in #BlinkYourLight
We want to thank all the folks and households in our region for joining us in the Blink Your Light campaign that we started many months ago – at this scary and confusing time of Covid 19. 

As the days are longer we are phasing out the #BlinkYourLight campaign, but please be sure to take action in other ways to thank our healthcare workers as the risk to them is still very real. 

We are grateful to you all.