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Recognizing your privilege during Coronavirus spread

As you evaluate your owns risks for Coronavirus, it's also important to think about the risks of others. While you may be young, healthy, have good healthcare and paid time off, others in your own community are not as fortunate. We all see the world through our own lense, but others' perspectives may be different.

Posted: Mar 14, 2020 7:48 AM

ROCHESTER, Minn. - As you evaluate your owns risks for Coronavirus, it's also important to think about the risks of others. While you may be young, healthy, have good healthcare and paid time off, others in your own community are not as fortunate. We all see the world through our own lense, but others' perspectives may be different.

"Think about the impact of your potential illness on those around you, those you come in contact with," says Dee Sabol, executive 

"Watch for opportunities to support other," says Dee Sabol, executive director of the Diversity Council. Privilege is always a conversation at the Diversity Council, but as the community grapples with Coronavirus, privilege is an important consideration.. Coronavirus may impact certain members of our community in different ways than others. People who have disabilities, are homeless, unemployed or underemployed, without access to health care or health insurance, without child care, without paid time off may face significant obstacles.

While some of us may get sick with Coronavirus and survive the virus unscathed, others may not be as lucky. "Think about the impact of your potential illness on those around you, those you come in contact with," adds Sabol.

KIMT spoke with Kim Sin, a member of Rochester's Cambodian community about concerns the community has about the virus. One of the biggest obstacles is a language barrier. "The information is not in Cambodian. Because we have a lot of older folks that do not really understand," he explains. Many people who do not read or speak English are getting their information through word of mouth, which is not always fully accurate.

Sin says many members of the Cambodian community work in manufacturing and hospitality jobs, which are industries facing uncertainty. They are concerned about access to health care, paid time off, and job security. "A lot of the community members and the Cambodians as well, we live from paycheck to paycheck, so companies shutting down, that's going to affect them tremendously," he says.

Sin also notes that he's seen an increase in racism against the Asian-American community since the outbreak and wants to remind people that the virus doesn't descriminate, and anyone can and will get sick regardless of race.

As we practice social distancing during the outbreak, Sabol wants to remind people that this practice can further isolate marginalized members of our community. "Individuals with disabilities, older americans, people who have language barriers are going to feel that isolation and that dislocation more," she says. She also believes staying educated and informed from local sources such as Olmsted County Public Health is a good way for people to keep their privilege in check.

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