Since the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting crises emerged in Wayne County and Detroit, tens of thousands of residents have contracted the disease and thousands have died. Schools have closed and many people have lost their jobs. Over 35 percent of Detroit’s residents live in poverty and the economic and environmental toll of COVID-19 is significant, as Detroit families are less likely to have the resources, means, and opportunities to weather the effects of the disease and its fallout.
In early April 2020, a consortium of Detroit organizations banded together under the name COVID313 Community Coalition for Families and Students to share information with local communities about testing, education, health care, childcare, food distribution, immigration needs, unemployment, and more.
COVID313 includes school leaders, nonprofit organizations, philanthropic foundations, and Detroit city officials and representatives. Early on, COVID313 turned to Detroit Public Television to amplify the coalition’s messages throughout the region.
Leveraging the power of DPTV and One Detroit, the station’s weekly news show, COVID313 releases weekly, live virtual town hall updates via DPTV’s Facebook account. Recorded town halls are then made available via DPTV’s One Detroit website, Facebook feed, and YouTube channel.
DPTV lends its capacity and expertise to convene presenters, dive into issues, host discussions with state and local politicians, and provide COVID313 partners with opportunities to publicize available resources, such as utility assistance, food and basic need provisions, medical programs, and updates on the virus and its impacts. DPTV also works with community partners and program presenters to provide ASL, Spanish, and Arabic translation.
By weaving together the knowledge, resources, and expertise of Detroit’s varied sectors, DPTV is encouraging a collective and beneficial response to the pandemic. DPTV is empowering Metro Detroit residents to proactively and safely respond to the virus and is a strategic partner in the city’s efforts to mitigate the negative impacts of COVID-19 and decrease its transmission rate.