It can be challenging getting used to wearing a mask, but it's important to do for you and your community. The CDC recommends that you wear a cloth face mask when you're around people who don't live with you and in public settings when social distancing is difficult. We're collaborating with a non-profit organization, United We Mask, to help offer education and resources about the importance of face masking.
What is United We Mask (UWM)?
United We Mask is a non-profit organization with a mission to encourage sound public health habits and provide homemade masks to our communities, leaving N95 masks for members at higher risk of COVID-19 exposure. We promise that for every mask purchased, one is donated to an essential worker or person in need. Additionally, by hosting free workshops and recruiting Creatives to think about new PPE solutions based on individual needs, our goal is to ensure no matter race, socio-economic status, job, or age, we can help save lives together.
We collaborate with hospitals, primary, secondary schools, domestic & homeless shelters, and organizations serving those who participate in the essential work of protesting for BLM for mask donation drop offs. Our workshops are open to the all organizations, schools, general public, and those looking to learn the tools to make a difference in their communities.
What inspired UWM's mission?
United We Mask began as passion project in between JJ's, Founder & CEO, work calls as a full time cosmetic and technology program manager. While working from home and living in New York City, she quickly witnessed first hand the shortage in PPE for her local community and rising cases of COVID by the end of March with over 36,000 new cases daily. As a passionate sewists, she quickly reached out to her network of designers and friends to join together under a unified cause to help provide masks for essential workers and those in need. Today, even as as states begin to open up and with social distancing not always possible, we will need to make PPE more approachable and to encourage long term practice as it will take time for vaccines to scale up for over 300 million people in the US alone.
What challenges are UWM facing?
As cities begin to open (businesses and schools) and social distancing is not always possible, wearing PPE is more important. However, some reasons for non compliance include some of the below. As an organization, we are always challenging our designers and partners to find creative solutions to help solve some of these issues, making PPE more approachable for everyone.
After 3 months of shelter-in-place, the effect of wearing a mask as a sign of unity or ‘doing good’ is wearing off. Furthermore, masks are not always accessible or approachable for every race, socioeconomic group, job, religion, etc.
Sustainability, disposable PPE is becoming a large contributor to ocean pollution. The Guardian recently reported: “With a lifespan of 450 years, these masks are an ecological time bomb given their lasting environmental consequences for our planet”
What do UWM and LUKH hope to do?
We understand that sometimes the traditional homemade mask is not approachable or accessible for everyone. To put simply: one mask does not fit nor suit all. Our hope is to collaborate with LUKH to help design and/or share other PPE options that are approachable or accessible if a traditional homemade mask does not suit one's needs.