Coronavirus Resources + Note from WEPOWER Team

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“Our goal is to create a beloved community and this will require a qualitative change in our souls as well as a quantitative change in our lives.”

~ Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dear community,

I am writing to you today to share resources, updates, and reflections as we all try our best to navigate a set of circumstances that seem unprecedented for our time.

I imagine it has been unsettling for all of us to receive constant updates and alerts that consume our social media feeds, inboxes, and television screens! Through this global crisis, I have made space for reflection and a renewed sense of conviction and urgency to partner with you and others to demand that systems not ignore, abandon, or placate us but instead nurture our families and communities.

 

UPDATES

The WEPOWER team is all working from home. We are embracing Zoom video conferences and communicating as much as we can with one another.

WEPOWER has been busy figuring out ways to move our convenings to be virtual. We had our first virtual workshop on Monday with the Elevate/Elevar entrepreneurs. Hopefully you all found it useful! 🙂

We are trying our hardest to collect, organize, and share resources with you all. Check this page every few days to see if there are new resources and updates that you find useful. Feel free to pass this webpage along to any and everyone you know. If there are resources and updates that you want to share with others, please send them our way via [email protected] or text us as (314) 648-2973. Also email or text us if there are immediate needs or emergencies that can’t be supported by the resources we share on this page.

 

RESOURCES

REFLECTIONS

We have been building a beloved community for nearly two years. Now more than ever, the pandemic that we confront calls us to lean in more.  But what does qualitative change look like?

  • A beloved community is as strong as the relationships we build among each other. Relationships are built and fortified through communication and connection, through creating a culture of vulnerability and support.

  • Creating a beloved community requires sustained and heightened action towards equity and justice during moments like these. The economic, health, and educational injustices that we have been bearing the brunt of for centuries are now exacerbated by the brutal reality that these systems were never designed in service of us. Now is the time to act collectively to demand rapid responses and immediate services and long-term systemic change.

 A living wage was a fundamental need before COVID-19 and is even more so now. An affordable, accessible, and holistic healthcare system was already a matter of life or death before COVID-19, and today, that remains true. Innovative, 21st century, culturally responsive, tech-forward, and humanizing educational experiences were a fundamental need for our children last year, and today, we have failed our children more than ever. Accessible, quality early childhood education opportunities advanced by a passionate and well-supported workforce, many of whom are Black women, was an urgent need before, and our lack of collective commitment to our babies today is heartbreaking and immoral. Criminalizing poverty, normalizing the imprisonment of Black and Latinx people was a crime yesterday, and today, our neglect of their wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic deserves unflinching critique and radical action.

 Our community was formed and grows through our shared commitment to action. There are ways we can take action right now, small and large.

  • You can demand that our local, state, and federal leaders and institutions take equitable action to support our beloved community during this pandemic. Checkout our advocacy section on the resource hub.

  • You can deepen your commitment to redesign our early childhood education system: www.wepowerstl.org/playbook.

  • You can make your voice heard on important decisions like school closings at SLPS: www.wepowerstl.org/whats-next-slps

  • You can demand that East St. Louis School District 189 adopt a community schools model and increase transparency: www.wepowerstl.org/rise-189

  • You can demand better budgeting to drive better schools: www.wepowerstl.org/better-budgets-better-schools

  • A beloved community is as impactful as the well-being of the individuals that make up the collective. Our ability to take care of ourselves, emotionally and spiritually is critical. We must forge self-care practices into the normalized chaos that consumes us so that we can bring our full selves to our collective work. Create your routine of meditation, prayer, reflection, rest, etc. – time for self – so that you are well. Do whatever you need to do to preserve and sustain the genius and genuine love that you continue to bring to the WEPOWER space and any other space where you “do the work”.

  • Find joy and sustain hope. I have found joy in small and large ways over the past few days. I have witnessed unrivaled support between friends, families, colleagues, and strangers. I have giggled at gifs and memes that have offered me laughter while trying to make sense of this all. I have seen unlikely alliances form beautiful connections to support our youth. All of this brings me joy. I hope we all find ways to celebrate our resilience and connection, find reasons to smile, tap into the strength and power of our ancestors, and find joy in how far they have brought us during circumstances beyond our comprehension.

 Hope is what will sustain us. We must believe things will get better, because of our collective will to dismantle systems, commitment to healing, and futuristic creativity in designing new systems. We must have hope that the good of humanity will conquer the fear that is trying to cripple us. Hope means we deal with the world as it is – currently that means wrestling with the coronavirus pandemic and the harm it has and will do – and pursuing the world as it should be. We must remain clear about our collective long-term vision, hopeful that it can be realized, and diligent about pursuing the issues and opportunities that require forward thinking, strategic action, and not getting derailed but instead compelled by the very challenges we face at this moment.

 As we make qualitative changes together, today and in the years to come, we will begin to experience quantitative changes in our lives, personally and as a community.

 “I think it is healing behavior, to look at something so broken and see the possibility and wholeness in it.” ~  adrienne maree brown

 Charli + WEPOWER Team