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Children, care and safety

Online you can learn how to fix broken appliances, how to make the best buttercream frosting and even how to beat your favorite online game. But what happens when you’re learning to breastfeed and need support and guidance in a global pandemic? WKKF grantee Reaching Our Sisters Everywhere is providing support to mothers by offering a free, online baby café for mothers in just that predicament. This New York Times piece is encouraging moms not to give up trying, but to seek guidance and help in new ways.

All of us on Zoom calls know you cannot put childcare on hold. A new report published by WKKF grantee, The Center for Law and Social Policy, emphasizes why child care needs to be front and center, especially during this crisis. This new brief explains the origins of long-standing racial inequities in child care and early education, examines how the COVID-19 crisis has exposed and exacerbated these inequities, and offers recommendations for how policymakers, advocates and other stakeholders can support a stronger, more equitable system.

Grantees in Haiti continue to fight the coronavirus pandemic on multiple fronts. A Science Magazine article profiles Dr.Marie Marcelle Deschamps, deputy director of GHESKIO, one of the country’s most prominent institutions battling the public health emergency. Their founding director, Jean William Pape applauds her wide-reaching efforts to support the people of Haiti – including improving women’s wellness, getting loans to poor women for starting their own businesses, and educating children in schools. As Pape shares, “When she sets out to solve a problem, it gets solved.”

While the CDC recommends connecting with others to help reduce stress during the pandemic, physical distancing is proving this more difficult and can lead to unnecessary health complications. Doña Ana Communities United (DACU) has established a program to keep residents of Las Cruces connected, during this time of physical distancing and beyond. Pairing individuals who agree to connect with each other several times a week via text, phone or email, DACU’s Cruces Contigo is decreasing isolation and loneliness, and helping with health emergencies.

Where do you shelter in place when your home is not safe? Detroit-based grantee Alternatives for Girls is addressing that question for girls and young women ages 15-21. Despite losing family members and close friends, the members of the Alternatives for Girls team are digging deep into their own community to ensure they stay open and continue to serve the growing needs of homeless and at-risk young women despite the pandemic.

In Mexico, WKKF grantees Melel Xojobal, an Indigenous rights organization, and la Red por los Derechos de la Infancia en México (Children’s Rights Network in Mexico) are partnering with other local and national organizations to bring attention to a case of criminalization of Indigenous families in Chiapas. At issue is the fabrication of crimes and lack of due process in the jailing of four Indigenous women and the separation of 23 children from their families, in connection with a high-profile child disappearance case recently covered in The New York Times. The activism of Melel Xojobal and Derechos de la Infancia on this case has been covered in several outlets, including La Jornada, Tierra de Toda, Tercera Via and Expansión Política. The two organizations have been working to shine a light on glaring problems in the Chiapas justice system stemming from racism against Indigenous peoples in Mexico.

Three restaurants, an urban wear outfitter and a digital marketing group are the first five recipients of loans from Rende Capital’s RACE4PROGRESS fund. Based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and created by two WKKF Community Leadership Network fellows, Rende Capital is the first racial equity-oriented, emerging community development financial institution in the U.S. They recently launched this RACE4PROGRESS fund to provide progressive, low-interest loans with a flexible application process for local entrepreneurs of color.

The La Plazita Institute in the South Valley of Albuquerque is working to make a difference in people’s lives.  An organization focused on comprehensive, holistic and cultural approaches to reduce disparities in incarceration and increase innovative opportunities for previously incarcerated youth and adults, La Plazita continues to engage with youth, elders and communities in creative ways through the ‘Belonging’ Program. As featured on Albuquerque’s KOB4, with some modifications, the program continues to lift up the possibilities for their children and neighborhoods.

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