COVID-19 impact continues
During the past few weeks, New Mexicans have adapted to the changes that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought. The results of our adjustments give us much to celebrate – while cases of infection statewide continue to increase, many counties have seen steady declines in the rate of growth and the number of deaths statewide has remained relatively low. New Mexico continued to receive national attention as a leader in its response to the outbreak and for the state’s ongoing effort to make drive by testing widely available to everyone. This will put New Mexico ahead of the curve in tracking future spread of the disease, and make it better able to manage re-opening efforts with reliable data on regional infection rates. Thus, even as new requirements for facemasks are enacted (masks are now required by workers in essential businesses statewide and in all public places in Las Vegas), even as we recognize the devastation the virus continues to wreak on tribal communities, many feel guardedly hopeful as they look ahead to the gradual, partial openings that may occur later this month if the curve begins to flatten. We all share this need to feel hopeful – for an opportunity, for a foothold that will re-establish our lives on even a small patch of familiar ground.
Finding positive ground
While that ground we reclaim may be familiar in some ways, it is equally clear to all of us that our lives will not return to what they were before. Social interactions will remain restricted for a long time – possibly years - and the ways in which we pursue the daily activities of work, education, business, and pleasure will continue to shift and change. This has led us all to consider how we can plan for and adjust to these upcoming changes, even though their exact nature remains unclear. The El Valle Community Center is adjusting as well, and expects to be guided by three key goals during the coming year.
Provide community information
Much of what we have learned in the last two months is how much we all rely on access to timely, reliable, open information, not only about the virus itself and the responses to it, but also about how to manage the overlapping emotions associated with the adjustment, isolation, anxiety, and uncertainty that have been so prevalent. Harvard’s Coronavirus Series notes that reliable communication, which addresses the full range of difficulties facing communities during the pandemic, is essential for helping people navigate these difficult events. El Valle Community Center will provide carefully vetted, knowledge-based information during the coming year, through this newsletter and through the resources available at the Villanueva Library.
Build digital Inclusion
As a result of the pandemic, many work-related tasks and almost all of education have moved onto online platforms. This has made access to high speed internet and reliable computing devices, and the support needed to develop effective digital skills, more important than ever. Over the coming year, we can expect this focus on digital platforms and skills to increase. This makes the need for “digital inclusion,” providing online access, computing equipment, and digital skills, to all New Mexicans, all the more critical. The Center will work to build digital inclusion for the local community and regions throughout the coming year.
Celebrate community, culture, and tradition
El Valle Community Center has a long history of showcasing the community, culture and traditions that are the backbone of the region and embody its unique beauty and spirit. While social distancing guidelines and limits on gatherings will not make it possible to celebrate in person, the center will continue to value, promote, and showcase these essential elements of the community through online resources and, when possible, through allowable, individual, socially distanced activities.
El Valle Community Center maintains these newspostings and distributes them through a newsletter. Subscribe.