Equity and Empathy in Times of Crisis
We are all at risk of this highly contagious virus, but for some individuals and communities, the impact will be more severe in terms of health and economic consequences.

Racism and xenophobia have been ever-present during this crisis. Like the way we have treated our Asian brothers and sisters and the rise of Coronavirus hate crimes across the country.

Capitalism and classism have done their thing by making sure the rich and most powerful have first access to COVID-19 testing and through the hoarding of resources or the privilege of self-quarantine. Hundreds of thousands of workers have jobs that demand they continue to work while others have no other choice.

Let’s be clear that self-isolating is a form of privilege for many of us doing it.

We have not one day lived without white supremacy, patriarchy, capitalism or Christian hegemony. Our systems are working just as they were built to work, where some thrive, and others are sacrificed. 

It is not a coincidence that the majority of folks deemed “essential workers” do not make a livable wage. It is not a coincidence that the majority of those essential workers are Black and Brown folks. It is not a coincidence that those who are incarcerated and those who are homeless are being exposed and contracting the virus at the highest rates. It is not a coincidence that so many essential workers are women. It is not a coincidence that Native reservations are the most poorly funded and equipped to handle pandemic. It is not a coincidence that disability is missing from so many conversations. I could go on and on.

Vulnerable people are at great risk of not only acquiring and spreading the virus, but also of being ignored and further oppressed by institutions and organizations.

This crisis will exacerbate segregation, individualism, and separatism.

In times of crisis, communities survive through collaboration.

We survive through connection and through community.

We survive through being:

– Trauma informed
Centering language justice: Outreach strategies and medical treatment for folks in their language
– Not confusing equality and equity
– Prioritizing mental health over productivity
– Disrupting systems focused purely on charity not those focused on shared power
– Disaggregating our data
– Not trying to ignore or deny the privilege we have. Leverage it for the collective. 

For actionable resources on the above look to this curated list from Racial Equity Tools and sign up for my colleague, Ericka Hines’ monthly resource newsletter.
 
Can we do the important work of equity and worry about our staff, our communities, keeping the lights on and the doors open? Can we fundraise and or furlough with compassion and grace?

We can if we all work together.

We cannot survive without our pandemic strategies being rooted in equity and justice.

My deepest hope that we use our time to build more equitable systems… that opportunities that stand before us are used for building something new and beautiful and yet un-imagined.

Let’s take care of each other and let’s get free.

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