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51% #1603: A Family Divided Is More Connected During COVID-19

Jessica Gulotta
Courtesy of Jessica Gulotta
Jessica Gulotta

On this week’s 51%, we hear about a family divided between the U.S. and Italy during COVID-19; and a woman talks about turning from a career in the pharmaceutical industry to a farm.

I know this woman with relatives in Italy. She’s the communications director for a New York state senator in the Hudson Valley, an area I cover wearing my Hudson Valley News Bureau Chief hat. When she and I were setting up a time I could speak with the senator in March, she mentioned how she was spending time video chatting, and singing, with her relatives and how scary it was over in Italy and U.S. beware. Jessica Gulotta says the majority of her mother’s family, or several dozen relatives, live in Italy. She grew up spending her summers in Italy. Since, she has spent a few weeks there each year, at minimum. I spoke with Gulotta about her communication with family in Italy and she starts by describing that communication before the COVID-19 crisis escalated. 

Jessica Gulotta is the communications director for state Senator James Skoufis.

Elsewhere in the country, a hip-hop and spoken word artist also pays attention to his elders, in particular, his late grandmother Youa Chang. She arrived in Minnesota in 1996 and could only speak Hmong. She never learned to speak English. Yet she and her grandson transcended their language barriers by collaborating as a performance duo. They called their performance collaboration Fresh Traditions, and they’d performed together for 10 years. KFAI Producer Emily Bright has the story.

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Planned Parenthood is joining other abortion providers in suing Texas over moving to ban abortions during the coronavirus outbreak. The federal lawsuit filed at the end of March in Austin, Texas, is among the most high-profile challenges to a government response to the coronavirus pandemic. The chief executive of Whole Woman's Health, an abortion provider with three clinics in Texas, said they canceled 150 appointments in one week. Amy Hagstrom-Miller said that came after Governor Greg Abbott issued an order that halted all nonessential surgeries to free up doctors to fight COVID-19.

A self-proclaimed city girl is starting a new life at age sixty-one, with chickens. India Hunter brings us the story.

That’s our show for this week. Thanks to Tina Renick for production assistance. Our executive producer is Dr. Alan Chartock. Our theme music is Glow in the Dark by Kevin Bartlett. This show is a national production of Northeast Public Radio. If you’d like to hear this show again, sign up for our podcast, or visit the 51% archives on our web site at wamc.org. And follow us on Twitter @51PercentRadio

“Contributions to 51% #1603 come from the Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.”

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