Hope from the Front Lines

Hope from the Front Lines

Hope from the Front Lines peeks beyond the headlines finding stories of struggle, passion, and strength from essential caregivers of color doing the heavy lift - protecting Chicago’s most vulnerable during this COVID-19 pandemic. The series is produced by Juneteenth Productions with funding support from the McCormick Foundation.

Episodes

December 10, 2020 15 min

Nine months into the Coronavirus pandemic, childcare providers are doing double and triple duty supervising school aged kids with remote learning for much of each day, while doing their regular duties caring for the children of working parents.  But providers fear that if and when schools reopen, their risk of COVID exposure will increase as kids shuttle back and forth between daycare and classrooms.  They're placed between a r...

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Healthcare workers in homes face increased exposure risk to Covid-19, just like traditional front line workers. So why are employers using loopholes in the law to avoid paying some essential workers sick leave? The Families First Coronavirus Response Act covers pay, if you’re infected by COVID. For home healthcare workers, it’s only if they contract it from a client.  The issue is that home healthcare workers exposure risks extend ...

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Throughout Chicagoland and across the country nursing homes continue to bear the brunt of the Covid-19 pandemic.  For the past 11 months the linoleum tiled hallways of these facilities have carried not only orderlies, gurneys, and residents, but also more than 38% of all Covid-19 related deaths in America.  But what many don’t know is that staff of these facilities, and the industry advocates that fight for them were not in the lea...

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Five months after George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer, the struggle for justice and equality for African Americans continues in peoples’ hearts and minds, if not still in the streets. Many Black Americans are encouraged that the protests and larger number of allies joining the movement for Black Lives will bring real changes in policing and equity.  In this episode, Enough is Enough, healthcare givers Shawndra R...

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Lakesia Collins es una CNA decidida a cambiar la narrativa. Trabajando en múltiples trabajos de cuidadora mientras criaba niños, tuvo que declararse en bancarrota porque su hogar de ancianos pagaba salarios de pobreza. Convirtiéndose en organizadora de la unión la empoderó para correr como representante estatal del noveno distrito de Illinois. Su plan no es solo conseguir que se aprueben los proyectos de ley, sino organizar su dist...

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At the midpoint of our first season of Hope from the Front Lines we look back at some of the episodes we have produced so far. Throughout the season we’ve heard from frontline workers receiving no pay for time spent in quarantine, daycare providers left to fend for themselves as they reopen in the midst of a pandemic, healthcare-providers working in unsafe conditions for unfair wages, and nursing home attendants left in the dark re...

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October 7, 2020 27 min

La industria del cuidado de la salud en el hogar está creciendo rápidamente, con un valor de más de $30B USD. La industria ya lucha con prácticas laborales justas, pero COVID-19 golpeó y expuso esas debilidades. 

Marisol García ha estado trabajando con la misma empresa de cuidado en el hogar desde 2003 y contrajo COVID-19 mientras trabajaba. La obligaron a estar en cuarentena durante un mes y aún no ha recibido el pago por el tiempo...

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Long-term healthcare workers have been overlooked for a long time, and during the time of a pandemic, things are no different. These healthcare workers are often the ones who are looking after those most vulnerable in our society. In this episode, we learn from two long-term health care workers, Monique Smith and Marybeth Linse, on the difficulties of taking care of a loved one during a global pandemic. 

Reporter JONATHAN AGUILAR r...

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September 23, 2020 14 min

Lakesia Collins is a CNA determined to change the narrative. Working multiple caregiving jobs while raising kids, she had to file bankruptcy because her nursing home paid her poverty wages. Becoming a union organizer empowered her to run for state representative of Illinois’ 9th District. Her plan is not just to get bills passed but to organize her district around the issues that she understands firsthand - housing, lifting the ban...

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Loneliness, isolation, depression, anxiety and other mental health crises have infiltrated nursing homes long before the March lockdown and peak of COVID-19 in Illinois, but the pandemic has only heightened those feelings among staff and residents. While the pandemic has been hard overall, the strict parameters limiting social activities, interactions and the disruption of normal routines pose the risk of a mental health pandemic t...

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La demanda de cuidado infantil asequible ha sido históricamente alta, con COVID-19 exacerbando el sistema ya inestable. Para que los padres vuelvan al trabajo, necesitan un cuidado infantil seguro y asequible, pero algunos proveedores aún no están listos para reabrir. Otros no tienen espacio. Los efectos del COVID-19 están exponiendo los desafíos estructurales que los proveedores de cuidado infantil como Maria Del Carmen Macias y A...

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With COVID-19 related hospitalizations increasing and many hospitals allowing visitation to resume, hospital workers worry about their protection from contracting the virus. In this episode, hospital workers Bernita Drayton and Caprice Nevils discuss the need for greater safety protocols as their exposure to the virus increases.

Reporter Kortni Smyers-Jones recently graduated from DePaul University with a master’s degree in journali...

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Nearly six months into the pandemic, hospitals across the U.S. still struggle to keep up with rising admissions of COVID-19 patients. While Chicagoland has yet to see a flattening of the curve, some hospitals have resumed elective surgeries and admitting visitors. Northwestern Memorial Hospital, located in the city’s center, was one of the first to do both and received a large CARES Act grant to keep its operations going. But littl...

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Take a look at how communication between nursing home management and their staff and residents is vital to treating and preventing the spread of the Covid-19. In this episode we look at two Chicago facilities taking very different approaches to protecting their staff and residents during the pandemic. Bridgeview Healthcare Center neglected to test residents showing symptoms of Coronavirus, leaving uninformed staff members at risk o...

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In group homes for developmentally disabled adults, the contraction of COVID-19 happens faster, and deadlier than any other population. Not only are these numbers under-researched, but also underreported. In this episode, one home care giver uses her investigative instincts to keep residents in a group home in the southwest suburbs of Chicago healthy, safe and alive - against the odds.

Reporter Ariel Mejia (she/her) is a Chicago nat...

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Demand for affordable child care has historically been high, with COVID-19 exacerbating the already unsteady system. For parents to get back to work, they need secure and affordable child care, but some providers aren’t ready to reopen yet. Others don’t have the space. The effects of COVID-19 are exposing the structural challenges child care providers like Maria Del Carmen Macias and Araida Palacios have dealt with long before the ...

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July 22, 2020 23 min

The home health care industry is growing fast, poised to be worth over $30B. The industry already struggles with fair labor practices, but COVID-19 hit and exposed those weaknesses. 

Marisol Garcia has been working with the same in-home care company since 2003 and contracted COVID-19 while at work. She was forced to quarantine for a month, and has yet to receive pay for the lost time.

Reporter Aiden Kent is a seeker, storyteller and ...

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Hope from the Front Lines peaks behind the COVID-19 headlines to reveal the voices and day-to-day challenges of essential health caregivers and staff who support Chicagolands’ most-at-risk during the pandemic: the ill, seniors, people with disabilities and children. Predominantly Black and LatinX, they work long hours for little pay and even less recognition. Their stories of resilience, perseverance and commitment to those they ca...

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