This story was originally published by NEWS4SA and can be found here.
SAN ANTONIO – Instead of a hug or a handshake for loved ones, how about something that comes from the heart?
According to a press release from The San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (SAHCC) launched the “Heartshake,” or Saludo de Corazon, as the new handshake. The way it works is by placing one hand over your heart and tapping twice, to symbolize “I love you” or “Hello.” In doing so, the person knows you’re greeting them but social distancing is still practiced.
Traditionally Hispanic cultures embrace each other with and this campaign looks to encourage new cultural norms with a new greeting in place to reduce contact, yet still show affection.
SAHCC’s Chairwoman Dr. Erika Gonzalez is leading the campaign along with a task force of experets along with community partners like UTSA Demography, TAMUSA Sociology Departments, Councilman Roberto Treviño’s office, Metro Health, the City of San Antonio, STAAMP Allergy, SAVE Clinic, and Duable. In essence, the task force’s mission is to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in San Antonio and decrease mortality risk by reinforcing social distancing practices.
“We realized early on that with all our direct ties to the Hispanic community, we needed to create new cultural norms to slow the spread and save lives,” Dr. Gonzalez said. “With the Heartshake, San Antonio has an alternative method to gesture ‘hello’ or ‘I love you’ without making physical contact. I am proud of all of our partners who have made the Con Corazón, SA bilingual campaign possible.”
While embracing (pun-intended) cultural norms is one aspect of the mission, SAHCC also said San Antonio has a high at-risk population due to a number of factors:
- Higher rates of people suffering from diabetes, hypertension, asthma and other immune disorders
- San Antonio is the most economically segregated city in the nation. Low economic communities lack access to healthcare, health insurance, community density, economic pressure to work, and lower life expectancy
- Cultural norms such as greetings and religious practices can accelerate the spread of disease among ethnic minorities including Latinos and African Americans.
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