Joe Dorman, Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy
We are only a few days away from the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy’s 2020 Heroes Ball. The local and even national attention that our event is receiving is encouraging OICA for taking innovative approach during these times.
OICA will honor our award winners with a virtual ceremony Friday, July 31, on the Zoom platform. Postmates has agreed to sponsor the banquet meals by offering gift cards to our ticketholders so they can order their meal from local restaurants that use their mobile app. To learn more about our event, go to oica.org and click on the “Heroes Ball” link or check the #VirtualHeroesBall hashtag on social media.
With the news that two high profile elected officials recently contracted COVID-19, OICA is continuing to encourage people to help stop the spread by doing what they can.
We offer our prayers and well-wishes to Gov. Kevin Stitt and Tulsa County Commissioner Karen Keith as they recover, along with all the others out there who are suffering from this disease.
Recently, one county in Texas reported 85 positive tests with children one-year-old and younger. COVID-19 is not just something that impacts adults. Please do what you can to keep children safe, and certainly speak up to your local school board to ensure they are taking every precaution to keep all students and teachers safe when schools re-open.
Sadly, Oklahoma recently suffered our first death of a child, according to state health officials. A 13-year-old Fort Sill resident – a dependent of a service member stationed at the base – who tested positive for the coronavirus is Oklahoma’s first pediatric COVID-19 death.
“Our prayers are with the family and community as they mourn the loss of a young, innocent life,” said Oklahoma Interim Health Commissioner Lance Frye in an interview with the Oklahoman following the announcement. “It is critical for Oklahomans to partner with us in following the latest public health guidance to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and protect our most vulnerable populations. Wash your hands often, limit social engagements, and consider wearing a mask where physical distancing is challenging.”
I will take his comment one step further: please wear a mask anytime you are around others. OICA is continuing our effort to help decrease the number of cases in our state by joining an initiative with multiple health-related organizations called “GotMaskOK.”
Oklahoma’s economy cannot successfully re-open sustainably without promoting and protecting a healthy workforce. As all Oklahomans continue to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Healthier Oklahoma Coalition has developed this “GotMaskOK” campaign, and visit this website, gotmaskok.org.
The coalition includes the Oklahoma State Medical Association, Oklahoma Hospital Association, Oklahoma Osteopathic Association, Oklahoma Nurses Association, Oklahoma Academy of Family Physicians, Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy, and many others.
This social media campaign encourages Oklahomans to wear masks whenever in public – and many national stores such as Walmart have adopted this policy. The simple act of wearing a mask – along with social distancing in public (six-foot distance whenever possible) and properly washing/disinfecting hands throughout the day – will create a safer environment and help prevent the spread of this potentially deadly disease.
Please review the GotMaskOK website and Facebook links. Share your picture and your story.
By helping spread this positive message and help decrease the negative chatter on social media will help encourage your friends and neighbors to be more proactive, no matter where you live in Oklahoma.
NOTE: Joe Dorman is executive director at the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA). He is a former state legislator whose 2014 campaign for governor had the support of The City Sentinel newspaper.