A San Jose community that was hit hard by the pandemic is vowing not let history repeat itself.
At the peak of the pandemic, East San Jose had some of the highest COVID-19 case rates and death rates in the Bay Area.
But now, a new community health and resource center says it has developed a plan to eliminate the inequities that fueled those cases.
The locals say they were outgunned here, a sky-high number of cases, and a lack of resources to fight it.
“East San Jose has always been neglected. We’ve let down East San Jose over and over again,” said Mike Gonzalez with the Blanca Alvarado Community Resource Center.
The pandemic response was an all too familiar refrain for many.
“For us, COVID-19 has lived in our community for a long time. And it’s known as inequity,” Maria Reyes with the Cassell Neighborhood Association said.
On Friday, the new Blanca Alvarado Community Resource Center unveiled a multi-pronged strategy to make sure equity reaches the east side and health is only one of the components.
“Here, we’re going to address food insecurity, housing insecurity. We’re going to ensure heath care access. Healthy lifestyles, a one stop shop,” Gonzalez said.
The center says all of these are crucial in preventing a future crisis. The center teamed with the Santa Clara Family Health Plan and with local residents to come up with the plan of action.
It's a plan that ensures that whatever residents on the west side are getting the east side gets the same slice of the pie.
“The struggle to make sure that equity and equality continues throughout the net decades and into the future requires vigilance, advocacy and strong presence from all of us,” Former San Jose Vice Mayor Blanca Alvarado said.
Alvarado said the inequity was the east side’s pre-existing condition. So they vow to fight to change that from this center, a place they believe will become a beacon for the east side.