Jennifer Staubach Gates visits with residents of the Ivy Apartments in Vickery Meadow.

Jennifer Staubach Gates visits with residents of the Ivy Apartments in Vickery Meadow.

The Vickery Meadow area near Preston Hollow, a neighborhood we’ve covered fairly extensively here at the Advocate, is now nationally famous. Well, infamous. Now it is known as ground zero for Ebola, after the first-ever American Ebola patient reportedly spent a few days at the Vickery Meadow Ivy Apartments before his admission to Presbyterian Hospital.

Tonight there was supposed to be a parade and National Night Out in Vickery Meadow, but due to issues related to the Ebola case, organizers have decided to cancel. Vickery Meadow Improvement District director Becky Range explains, via email, that attention will be redirected to the community’s more immediate needs.

“After talking with several of our volunteers, vendors, managers, security and city staff, we have made the decision to cancel the larger National Night Out celebration and parade.  Right now, there is more need for individual ethnic groups to meet up and discuss issues and cultural needs specific to their own communities.  Many of our volunteers are also very busy working one-on-one and onsite with residents, to ensure public health education needs are being met.”

From the Vickery Meadow Improvement District Facebook page, a list of languages spoken at the Ivy Apartments, where a man with Ebola was staying

From the Vickery Meadow Improvement District Facebook page, a list of languages spoken at the Ivy Apartments, where a man with Ebola was staying

Because at least 20 different languages are spoken among the 36,000 Vickery Meadow residents, translation of vital Ebola-related information has been challenging, but the VMID and others are working hard to communicate.

“We will be encouraging all apartment communities [in lieu of National Night Out] to gather together with their own residents,” Range notes in a VMID news blast to the community. “Encourage your neighbors to talk about this public health issue and send us any concerns you are still having. If communities need more printed materials on the Ebola virus or more translated materials to pass out that night, please let us know.”

In 2011 we wrote about the important role of volunteers in the Vickery Meadow community — there are after-school programs, a food pantry, a learning center that teaches ESL, to name a few. As noted in this USA Today article, Vickery Meadow has seen a drastic downturn in volunteers following the Ebola incident.

Dallas City Council member Jennifer Staubach Gates (in whose district Vickery Meadow falls) told USA Today she wants to dispel rumors about the residents.

“They are not at risk for getting the disease, and they are not risk for transmitting the disease. And — unfortunately — they are feeling discriminated against,” she told USA Today.

VMID materials remind the community and volunteers that they are safe: “The CDC has assured us there is no chance of the virus spreading to the rest of our community, as conditions that have caused it to spread in other countries do not exist here in the United States.”


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