Academy Award-nominated actors Edward James Olmos (Stand and Deliver) and Adriana Barraza (Babel) are speaking out on the critical need for medical supplies as COVID-19 numbers rise across America.
Olmos, Barraza and media partner the LA Times en Español are teaming up with Mexican-American actress and activist Fernanda Kelly (TV’s Black Jesus) to get the word out about her philanthropic venture, the Medical Gown Project. Created in April, the project helps doctors, nurses, first responders and other medical staff get the PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) necessary to do their jobs and save lives.
The gowns are sewn by Kelly and her team and given free to medical facilities across Southern California. They hope to expand nationwide soon.
“It is so empowering to see someone like Fernanda, with so much passion, step-up and use her voice for this great cause,” Alejandro Maciel, editor for the LA Times en Español, said in a statement. “How could we not get involved? It is our duty. Our responsibility to support our Latino communities that are the most impacted.”
During the conversation series Alimentando La Esperanza produced by the L.A. Times en Español, Olmos thanked Kelly and others for “doing something that comes from their heart.”
“I’m very grateful that they have been able to sustain and move forward,” Olmos said. “Now, more than ever, we need them because of the unbelievable surge in this virus.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), COVID-19 cases in the United States have surpassed 13.6 million and numbers are nearing 270,000 deaths. The CDC estimates another 30,000 lives will be lost by mid-December.
Latinos are 1.7 times more likely to contract COVID-19, 4.1 times more likely to be hospitalized because of COVID-19 and 2.8 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than non-Hispanics.
“This is about cooperation and collaboration between all of us,” Olmos said.
To donate to the Medical Gown Project online, visit here. Individuals can also text “PPEGowns” to 41444 to make a donation.