As you might expect, the pandemic has led to a large increase in Boston Public Library e-card signups, and the Black Lives Matter protests led to a huge increase of requests for the most popular anti-racism titles. "During the [Black Lives Matter] protests in June, we saw over a 500% increase in checkouts and holds on the most popular anti-racism titles including White Fragility, So You Want to Talk about Race, Between the World and Me, The New Jim Crow, and more," said Natasha Fee, Senior Public Relations Associate for the Boston Public Library. In the two weeks following the first June protests more than 1,200 BPL patrons requested ebooks of White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo, and How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi. And hey, Kendi recently stopped by Jamaica Plain's bookstore Papercuts J.P. when he happened to be walking by the South Street store. "We’ve continued to see a steady interest in these items and have been purchasing additional copies of in demand titles (for kids and adults) to meet the demand," said Fee.
The proprietors of the Rose JP Consignment store announced that they are closing their Centre Street brick and mortar business due to the affects of the Coronavirus. In a the glass is half full attitude Instagram post, co-owners and married couple Carina Lopez and John Peña explained why they are closing their store that just debuted in November 2019. "As you have seen many small businesses and big corporations are closing left and right in our communities..." said Lopez. "But as you all know, people are doing a lot more online shopping than going into a store physically," she said.
There are countless unsung heroes who are working on the frontlines in the face of the Coronavirus. Here are two Brookside Community Health Center employees who have been putting their lives on the line to help others. For eight weeks, ending July 10, the Brookside Community Health Center was one of Boston's free testing sites. That meant lots and lots of people coming to get tested. Name: Victoria (Tory) Hill
Hometown: Jamaica Plain
I have worked at Brookside Community Health Center for five years in total. I left for a few years to go back to nursing school, and have now been back working as a nurse practitioner for the last three years.
Hyde Square Task Force is receiving $50,000 for its youth music education programming thanks to the Lewis Prize for Music. The Lewis Prize for Music's COVID-19 Community Response Fund is distributing $1.25 million to 32 Creative Youth Development (CYD) organizations across the U.S. that have adapted and responded to the pressing needs of the young people they serve amid the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hyde Square Task Force’s Musicians in Community is one of three Afro-Latin arts teams that youth in grades 8-12 can join at HSTF. Musicians in Community is offered year-round at no cost to participants, and youth receive training in areas such as music theory, ear training, songwriting, improvisation, music history, stage performance, and overall musicianship. Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, programming has occurred virtually.
Daily free testing for COVID-19 at the Brookside Community Center ended July 10, but testing is likely to eventually resume there again. Brookside's testing site at 3297 Washington St., was open for eight weeks in collaboration with the Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center on Centre Street, and ended on July 10. Brookside provided a statement to Jamaica Plain News about the testing site ending:
"In balancing the importance of COVID-19 testing for our community with the need to serve our patients at each of the health centers, we will likely restart our testing site soon, in a more limited capacity, and will communicate those decision once made." Brookside will also post on updates on its Facebook page. While there are no more free Jamaica Plain testing sites, there are numerous other testing sites in Boston.