• Fatima Dirie

Community Health In West Valley City

I wanted to talk to you today about the issues I’m seeing in my community and what steps I want to take to address them as your representative in the Utah State House.

COVID-19 has been hitting West Valley City very hard, and it is people of color who are impacted most. A Deseret News article released yesterday showed that Hispanic Utahns make up 38% of cases in Utah while only representing 14% of the total state population. This is highlighting real inequities in our health care system, especially the issues facing communities of color. This must be dealt with, and I am in full support of the measures proposed by the Senate democrats for more visibility and transparency in how we allocate funds to fight COVID-19. I am excited to work with them in the State house to make sure that visibility is maintained and we are prioritizing allocating resources to historically underserved communities. I also am committed to fight for access to healthcare for our residents who are dealing with COVID and other ailments by fighting in the house for more affordable and accessible healthcare and protecting Medicaid. Voters overwhelmingly supported Medicaid, and I will fight to make sure it is accessible to those who need it most during this time of crisis.

So, what can we as a community be doing to help during this time when we are establishing solid contact tracing programs and ramping up testing? Connecting people to the resources they need has been my passion, and I’m proud to announce we are going to be starting a drive to help build personal hygiene kits for our community members who are forced to isolate as a result of the virus. We will be announcing the exact details next week, but we will be asking for contributions of pads, diapers, clean wipes, toothpaste, and other items that will be included in these hygiene kits and working with a wide group of volunteers to make sure they are distributed to those in need.

Additionally, it’s so important that we follow three important guidelines issued by the CDC to help stop the spread of the virus. The first step is to wash our hands thoroughly. Washing your hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds is the most effective method of preventing the spread of the disease. The second step is to wear a mask when you are outside. The primary way COVID-19 is spread is through droplets in the air, and these droplets can survive in the air and on surfaces for an extended period of time. Wearing a mask doesn’t just protect you, it protects the people around you. And finally, maintaining a social distance of 6 feet between people is essential to preventing the spread of the virus. Stores have done a great job with placing markers on the ground to make sure we maintain a safe social distance, but it is up to us to make sure we are aware of who is around us.

Representation is more important than ever right now, and our leaders need to be effective. Don’t you think that West Valley City has it hard enough as it is without having to be concerned with a pandemic? Shouldn’t you expect your representative to have experience in connecting individuals with the resources they need during a time of great uncertainty? I believe this is incredibly important, and it’s exactly why I’m running to represent you.

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