Is Coronavirus testing really color blind?

3 mins read
Image: Eddie Murphy "White Like Me" on SNL

How evenly are different ethnic groups being tested for the Coronavirus?

Mothers of Hope is a small non-profit in Kalamazoo, Michigan. They are polling people of different races in Kalamazoo (with help from Black Votes Matter) about their experiences in trying to get tested for the Coronavirus.

They are using chatbots that cost $900 to conduct the polls. Residents were encouraged to call or text 269-218-8585 or use Facebook Messenger. Residents are asked for their contact details and these six questions:

  1. What is your race?
  2. Did you experience and COVID19 symptoms?
  3. Did you seek medical treatment?
  4. Did you request a COVID19 test?
  5. Were you tested for COVID19?
  6. How was your experience in getting treated or tested?

All the responses were automatically transcribed and saved in a Google Sheet. Call the chatbot!

Background

“Mothers of Hope” empowers and strengthens women, families, and communities to rise above the effects of substance use disorders, poverty, violence and systemic inequities. It exemplifies culturally sensitive programs that are successful in restoring individuals, families, and communities impacted by substance use disorders, poverty, violence and systemic inequities.​ Donate here to support their work.

The group based in Kalamazoo, Michigan shows the power that mothers possess to support  families and the determination to affect positive change. Mothers of Hope is focused on the Coronavirus as it disproportionately impacts working families of color.

Chatbot benefits

Small community organizing groups like Mothers of Hope struggle with limited funds and staff. They needed to move quickly to poll the public about the Coronavirus so traditional approaches like mailed surveys or labor intensive phone banks weren’t possible. Chatbots are affordable, quickly set up and can handle any number of responses. Users respond how they prefer – a phone call, text or Facebook Message

Voice Chatbot

Facebook Messenger Bot

Takeaway

Pandemics kill regardless of your race, income or political affiliation. Health services should also be even-handed. Use innovative technologies like chatbots to conduct polls quickly to understand people’s concerns. Learn more about using chatbots here.

Deepak
Co-Founder, DemLabs

Please share this bulletinDemLabs is a SF-based, progressive hub for ongoing technology and creative innovation with free and affordable apps. Donate here to support our work.

Enjoy this classic SNL video is which Eddie Murphy goes undercover to satirize racism

Eddie Murphy plays “White Like Me” on SNL

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Democracy Labs is a hub for ongoing technology and creative innovation that serves progressive campaigns and organizations at the national, state, and local levels.

Our focus is on long term, sustainable and affordable solutions. An approach that is longer than an election cycle, and isn’t purely dependant on volunteers, can enable more qualified candidates to run for office and for more issue groups to bring about positive social change.

Democracy Labs is a project of the Tides Advocacy Fund.

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