What are the colonias? And what is the issue?
The colonias are unincorporated neighborhoods along the US-Mexico border. Often forgotten or disregarded, the majority lack access to basic services, including safe drinking water and electricity/adequate lighting; home infrastructures are not sturdy and most residents live without essential furniture. Texas's colonias alone have a population of 500,000 (1). Residents of the colonias include US citizens, legal residents and undocumented immigrants. From Texas's 2,300 colonias, 900 are located in Hiladgo County, the region Live In The Lights is actively helping (1). Please see the links to the right to learn more about the colonias.
Photo from JPER
How has COVID-19 affected the colonias?
COVID-19 has taken a significant toll on residents of the colonias. The striking rise in unemployment across the nation has especially devastated the most vulnerable communities such as the colonias. Unemployed, many households are struggling to pay their utility bills. Furthermore, many residents of the colonias are uninsured, leading to a higher death rate among this population (2). Reports indicate that residents often die in their homes because hospitals are not easily accessible (2). Additionally, the lack of access to internet limits the accessibility of distance learning for the children of the colonias (3). Please see the links to the right to learn more about the devastating effects of COVID-19 on residents of the colonias.
(2): information found on: https://www.centerforhealthjournalism.org/2020/07/16/covid-19-impact-south-texas-could-change-region-forever
(3): information found on: https://www.valleycentral.com/news/covid-19-highlights-inequality-of-internet-access-in-colonias/
Image from JPER
Solar Gratitude ISBN 9781667806631
I wrote this book to share one of the lessons of my life — to show gratitude to all things that bring light to our lives. I called it Solar Gratitude for multiple reasons. Firstly, to show the care and gratitude we owe our precious earth, and how harnessing the sun is one way we can achieve that. Secondly, I wanted to acknowledge the wonderful grace and gratitude I continue to receive from my friends and partners in the Texan colonias as I worked to help them gain access to electricity. Finally, this book is also the product of the immense gratitude I have for all the people who have helped me learn, explore deeply, and take risks to invest myself in work that helps others. My most heartfelt thanks goes to my loving parents, brothers and grandparents. – Adie