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Healing trauma. Keeping families safe. Holding communities together.

Experts, activists and celebrities promote their knowledge, voices and financial resources in their response to COVID-19

As the effects of COVID-19 intensify, New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty attorneys are staying on top of rapidly-changing policies and relief efforts with families, communities and partners in mind. To deliver resources on healthcare, safe housing, food and income support, employment and legal rights, and education, they’re offering timely “Know Your Rights” materials, videos, training and informational sessions. Thanks to organizations like New Mexico Asian Family Center, resources are available in multiple languages.

Bring calm to mind and body during the COVID-19 crisis. WKKF grantee the Institute of Women & Ethnic Studies is hosting a free mental health support group via Zoom three times a week. #GetYaMindRight is a virtual healing space where participants can learn how to manage thoughts, feelings and fears during this pandemic. Sessions are led by psychiatrist and trauma expert, Dr. Denese Shervington and IWES social workers. Join anytime at 10:15 a.m. CT on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Since the pandemic began, the message has been: “Wash your hands, thoroughly and frequently.” That’s one way to help keep your community safe. But what if you simply can’t? In Mexico, some 60 million people do not have reliable access to safe water and sanitation. An article in Animal Politico describes an important effort to address this problem. The organizations Fundacion Cántaro Azul and Fondo para la Paz are working together to help build the capacity of community water managers and make their voices heard by local and regional decisionmakers. 

Other grantees in Mexico are trying to protect their communities through legal action to forestall a development project that could put people at risk. Several networks representing the states of Yucatán, Campeche and Quintana Roo filed a complaint with Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission to delay the advancement of the Maya Tren project, a massive tourism infrastructure initiative. The complaint argues that execution of the project during a pandemic endangers the lives of local residents.

In southern Haiti, WKKF grantee Hope for Haiti is helping communities keep residents safe while earning enough to support their families. Their work, which includes distributing masks to health care providers and students and getting much-needed funds to teachers and small business people, caught the attention of tennis star Naomi Osaka, who, as People Magazine reports, chose the organization as a donation recipient in a Nintendo Switch virtual tennis tournament fundraiser. 

Detroit grantee Starfish Family Services, an early childhood education and family support provider, explains how to help children manage the trauma that can come with the loss of social interaction many children are experiencing now. Since the pandemic began, staff at the agency have connected with nearly 80% of clients by phone or on video conferences – offering resources and practical advice in their person-to-person outreach.

In South Richmond, Virginia, artist and Virginia Commonwealth University doctoral student Kristal Brown talks about the timeliness and relevance of “Brown Girl Narratives” – a 20-by-60-foot-tall mural emerging from her dissertation, with some additional support from the local Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation effort. “Women in this mural matter,” Brown says. “The Black people in that community matter. I hoped that that would be a motivator for togetherness … especially now, in the era of 6-foot distancing. There’s something powerful about them holding each other in a moment where we can’t.”

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