RI youth task force leads ‘Why I Care’ social media campaign


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — In a new social media campaign, a Rhode Island youth task force is asking their peers why they care about preventing the spread of coronavirus.

It was one of the main topics of discussion in a Facebook live with Gov. Gina Raimondo and the co-chairs of her Young Adult Task Force.

The governor announced she was convening the task force last month after a rise in COVID-19 cases with college students. It’s led by students from across Rhode Island’s colleges and universities, as well as local leaders and representatives of high-density communities. 

Co-chairs Matthew Mills, a nursing student at the Community College of R.I., and Maria del Carmen Guerrero Martinez, a senior at Brown University, spoke with the governor about the reasons why younger adults are having trouble with the pandemic, and messaging to get out ahead of the Halloween weekend.

“This weekend is only going to be a super spreader if we let it be one,” Martinez said.

The governor also asked the task force members how to make wearing a mask “cool,” and how to encourage their peers to wear one.

“I don’t think it’s ever going to be cool, however, I do think it’s going to be okay,” Mills said. “And that, I think is the goal. We don’t want this to be something we aspire to, but if we fall right in the middle, I’m okay with that.”

Mills said he would remind people we won’t need to wear masks forever, but also that “we all have a reason to care.”

For that reason, the task force started a social media campaign this month called, “Why I Care,” with the co-chairs making the first social media posts to get the conversation going.

The purpose of the campaign is to get young adults to show their peers why they do things like wear a mask or limit their social gatherings during the pandemic.

“Wouldn’t you do anything to protect your friends, your family, or even your friends’ family?,” Mills asked.

“There are young adults who are dying, too,” Mills continued. “We have the power to slow this down, and so, if you can stop the spread of the virus, would you? That’s an open question for anybody who’s watching this right now.”

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