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Black farmers, new moms, Native women and students

When you think of America’s farmland, you may not think of the sprawling hills of New York, but farmers there are dedicated to growing and building generational wealth. NPR recently highlighted one of these family businesses and WKKF grantee, The Black Farmer Fund. The fund is providing an alternate source of capital to Black farmers in New York so they can buy or maintain farmland. With access to this resource, family farms like the Minton’s Triple J Farm, can continue to grow and thrive for decades to come.

In any year, supporting expectant mothers through birth, breastfeeding and early parenting is essential. In 2020, this support has become imperative for WKKF grantee HealthConnect One. Their model is crucial for building trust in undocumented communities where accessing health care often incites fear and ultimately prevents them from receiving care. In immigrant communities, HealthConnect One’s community health workers not only provide families with access to basic health care, but also often end up becoming their advocates.

In a LinkedIn News essay, Impact America’s Kesha Cash shared some necessary truths about the role of systemic racism in capital markets. Her solution? First, acknowledge that racism is the largest market inefficiency of our time. Second, prioritize solutions and push back against the systems that profit from the exploitation of people of color. Advancing racial equity is a strategy for economic growth, she reminds readers – not just a matter of social justice.

In Haiti, the official numbers of coronavirus cases and deaths remain low. But in a recent article in Le National, Dr. William Pape, an appointee to the Haitian government’s COVID-19 task force who also heads WKKF grantee GHESKIO, warns about the possibility of a second wave. To keep the focus on disease prevention, another WKKF partner, FOKAL – Open Society Foundation Haiti – broadcast live a video and song by local artists addressing the stigmatization of people with COVID-19.

In Mexico, Almomento ran a piece about positive developments in the country despite the ongoing pandemic. As an example, the item cites a WKKF-funded initiative of the Universidad Iberoamericana called “Guidelines for Thinking in my Language.” The effort helps children develop critical thinking skills and literacy in Indigenous languages in Chiapas. The program aims to benefit some 20,000 students in the region.

Twelve women leaders from the WKKF-funded Navajo and Hopi Families COVID-19 Relief Fund, an initiative of Yée Ha’óolníidóo (“May the Navajo People Have Fortitude”), are protecting their communities and laying the foundation for long-term food security. Their efforts provide families, some in the most remote places, with two weeks of high quality, fresh food, as well as water, personal protective equipment for COVID-19 and other essential items. Families also receive culturally relevant, educational materials about COVID-19 in the Navajo language. The women are also working to identify more local food partners, strengthen local agriculture and irrigation infrastructure, and promote seed bank partners by distributing and preserving traditional heirloom fruits and vegetables.

The New Mexico State University’s Borderlands and Ethnic Studies program launched an interactive virtual art exhibit to engage students in the often-untold history of social justice issues in the border region. Enhancing a program whose enrollment has doubled since last year, it’s a much-needed and timely exhibit, according to the program’s director, Dulcinea Lara. “This virtual art show comes at an excellent time when racial justice is being fought for in the streets, and people’s hearts and minds are softening to the idea that a pluralistic and welcoming world for all is possible.”

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