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Watch Now: Seven languages, one message: I wear because I care
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Watch Now: Seven languages, one message: I wear because I care

From the Milestones in Lincoln and Nebraska's coronavirus fight series
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Mask Video DeLones

Darren DeLone (right) contributed to a video aimed at breaking down male resistance to coronavirus safety measures across all cultures. He's shown here with his kids (from left) La'Shai, 17; Cali'blu, 3; Sire, 5; and MihKing, 7.

Columnist

Cindy Lange-Kubick has loved writing columns about life in her hometown since 1994. She had hoped to become a people person by now, nonetheless she would love to hear your tales of fascinating neighbors and interesting places.

The dads made the video, but the moms were behind it.

The way moms are behind so many things.

“There were men in our community who were not taking the pandemic seriously,” said Dania DeLone, one of those moms. “We wanted to find a way to show them that this was something to put on the forefront.”

DeLone works at the Malone Community Center supporting breastfeeding moms and families and she’s a community breastfeeding educator, one of more than two dozen women who support women who want to nurse their babies, under the auspices of Partnership for a Healthy Lincoln and MilkWorks.

They make home visits and lead meetings at cultural community centers and churches and deliver breast pumps and become part of the lives of women from all over the world who might have trouble with language barriers, who might be missing the support of their mothers and grannies as they navigate motherhood themselves.

And now there is a pandemic. And the educators needed a new way to make a difference.

Cindy Lange-Kubick: Ann Seacrest and MilkWorks — her baby ready to wean

DeLone’s husband speaks first on the 153-second video they’ve called, “I Wear Because I Care.”

The former Husker football player is standing in their driveway, wearing a striped shirt and a baseball cap.

Hi, my name is Darren ...

He introduces himself in English and his words are echoed by more men. Dads speaking Spanish and Vietnamese, Chinese and Karen, Kurdish and Arabic.

Dads jiggling babies in their arms. Sitting with small children in the grass. Standing in offices and living rooms.

They share their names. Wei. Carlos. Quang. Joshua. Duc. George. Mirghani.

Some share their occupations. Teacher. Construction worker. Nurse. Assistant principal. Husband. Father.

One by one, they talk about the pandemic and hand-washing. About the importance of social distancing. One by one, they cover their mouths and noses with masks.

They say the same thing in seven languages: We are in this together.

“Our mission was just to reach the community and the male population of different cultures, not just English,” Maritza Asboe said. “We wanted male role models to encourage men to take precautions.”

The Hispanic mother of two, whose parents were born in Mexico, has been a breastfeeding educator since 2016. The idea for the video grew out a Zoom meeting with her fellow breastfeeding educators.

She and the other women are close. They meet once every two months to talk about their work and to lend support and advice. Ann Seacrest, who helped start MilkWorks, and was the dreamer behind the community breastfeeding outreach program, is their mentor and friend.

The moms talk about their lives.

Q&A with an inspiring woman: Khamisa Abdalla

During the pandemic, those meetings have been on a computer screen, their faces in little boxes.

In May, talk turned to COVID-19, a virus that was disproportionately affecting their friends and neighbors.

“Some of the moms were expressing concerns that some of the men were not using precautions,” Asboe said. “Not wearing a mask, congregating at houses.”

Breastfeeding educator Khamisa Abdalla saw the consequences unfold in her Sudanese community.

“Many wives get COVID because the husband goes around to places and she gets it and everyone at home gets it,” she said. “We thought it was a good idea to have some men to stand and say, ‘You have to do this and this.’”

Using social media made sense. It was free. Most people had access. Asboe’s husband, Alex, a worship minister at Capital City Christian Church, had been working putting together videos there.

He offered to help. He offered tips for shooting the videos and edited all the clips together.

Mask Video Asboes

Maritza Asboe (from left), Augustine Asboe, 4; Alex Asboe and Micah Asboe, 1, contributed to a video aimed at breaking down male resistance to safety measures across all cultures.

The moms thought it would be easy to find dads to film, but some of the women struggled.

“I work with the Chinese community and they are very shy and don’t want to be filmed,” educator Rebecca Reinhardt said. “I talked to five Chinese daddies and they all said no, no, no, no.”

The women strategized. They needed to convince the men their voices were for the greater good of the community.

Reinhardt finally found a father who was willing if he could have his wife and child in the video.

“It was more powerful.”

Wei Wang is an ICU nurse at Bryan Health. He's there on the video with his wife and son. He knows the importance of taking precautions, he said.

"With the proper use of PPE, none of my colleagues who took care of COVID-19 patients has been infected."

Abdalla’s Kurdish son-in-law, a U.S. Army translator, was happy to help, too. And when the video was complete, she posted it with an Arabic introduction.

“I’ve given masks to 60 families and more waiting.”

The hope? To break down male resistance to safety measures across all cultures. The men who think a mask makes them look weak. The men who think they are too powerful to be taken down by a virus. The men who don't want to be told what to do.

Breastfeeding program bridges cultural, emotional divides

The men who think their wives worry too much.

Darren DeLone is a 6-foot-7, 340-pound former offensive tackle and father of four. He always gathers up his hand sanitizer, gloves and mask when he ventures out.

He was happy to lend his voice to the chorus.

“Just lead by example,” he said. “It’s important to wear a mask no matter how big or small you are. What you do could help out the community.”

The men in the video are real dads, Dania DeLone said.

“These are our dads, right here, because right now our pandemic is on the rise. There’s too much that is on the line.”

Partnership for a Healthy Lincoln, MilkWorks and others have shared the video on their social media platforms.

It’s been viewed more than 1,000 times on YouTube in two weeks.

Face Mask Video

A YouTube video shares one message in several languages: "I Wear Because I Care."

And a group of family-oriented breastfeeding educators with roots that stretch around the globe would love to see it find its way beyond Lincoln.

“If it can spread to other states, that’s great,” Asboe said. “So a mom or dad can see, ‘Here’s someone who looks like me and they speak my language and they made this video because they care about me and the people who live with me.'”

Photos: Lincoln during the pandemic

Reach the writer at 402-473-7218 or clangekubick@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @TheRealCLK

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Columnist

Cindy Lange-Kubick has loved writing columns about life in her hometown since 1994. She had hoped to become a people person by now, nonetheless she would love to hear your tales of fascinating neighbors and interesting places.

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