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Supporting Buffalo and recognizing equity, artists and care providers

The Buffalo 5/14 Survivors Fund has been organized by Tops Friendly Markets and the National Compassion Fund to provide direct financial assistance to survivors of the deceased and those directly affected by this past weekend’s deadly, white supremacist attack on Buffalo’s East Side. WKKF’s grantee partner, the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, is collaborating with United Way of Buffalo & Erie County and dozens of local funders to establish the Buffalo Together Fund to address long-term systemic marginalization, in close consultation with communities of color. 

WKKF New Mexico partners Tewa Women United, NewMexicoWomen.Org, New Mexico Health Equity Partnership, Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico and Together for Brothers have joined forces to redefine masculinity and dismantle patriarchy through the launch of the New Mexico Healthy Masculinities Collaborative. According to the coalition, this work is about reimagining masculinity in communities. The toolkit is a step toward healing intergenerational traumas caused by violence, loneliness, shame and other gender wounds that stem from patriarchy and toxic masculinity. 

Two artists in the WKKF network have been recognized – and we want to make sure they are on your radar! One is a young Haitian rapper, Fégens Louis Jeune, aka ZIKÒS, a scholar of grantee Haitian Education and Leadership Program (HELP). He rhymes about social issues, especially respect for women and his native Creole language. The second is Leyla McCalla, who previewed her new album, “Breaking the Thermometer,” at New Orleans Jazz Fest. McCalla received support from WKKF through a grant to Duke University for a multidisciplinary performance of the same name. Her goal is to shift negative narratives about Haiti and use art to expose cultural and historical links between Haiti, the birthplace of her parents, and New Orleans, her current home.

In Mexico, the Nich Ixim Midwives Movement of Chiapas held a press conference on May 5, International Day of the Midwife, to discuss the importance and challenges of midwifery, as well as a set of demands for rights and recognition. Several articles in Mexican media emerged from the event and a statement released by this coalition of some 600 midwives and supporting organizations. 

After a $38 million renovation funded by a collection of public and private partners, including WKKF, a historic Art Deco tower in downtown Battle Creek now called The Milton has received a Michigan Governor’s Award for Historic Preservation. Prior to its renovation, the building stood vacant for nearly a decade. It is now occupied by residential tenants and serves as a hub for commercial spaces and a catalyst for economic growth in the downtown community. 

What would life without child care look like? Nearly 400 providers in 25 states took action and shut down for a day to illustrate the important role of child care in the U.S. – and the dire need for more funding to make child care affordable for families. WKKF grantee Community Change helped lead the charge, with several other grantees also supporting the effort. As provider BriTanya Bays told the Huffington Post: “It’s time for the world to feel what it’s like to go a day without child care right now, to prevent it from becoming our permanent reality.”

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