The pandemic continues: what can we do?

by Jonathan Krall

In Grassroots Alexandria, we have reacted to the covid-19 threat by working with allied groups and political leaders on immediate needs (enabling vulnerable communities to access healthcare and rental assistance) even as we work on long-term goals (restorative practices, affordable housing, protecting immigrants). But this crisis is personal. We are in our homes, venturing out only for work, food, and exercise, each in a unique world of deprivations, obligations and opportunities. Some are devastated. Some are relatively secure. At a time when so many are experiencing so much loss, it is up to those of us who have resources of time or money to find ways to share. Even in separation, we are a community.

Time

Volunteer work is a great way to become more connected to your community, even if that volunteer work is 100% telework.

Volunteer Alexandria is seeking volunteers to assist with food distributions and other community needs.
https://www.volunteeralexandria.org/careforcommunity

The Alexandria Medical Reserve Corps needs medical and non-medical volunteers to support the Alexandria Health Department. Want to help with emergency response and recovery? Want to become a contact tracer? The MRC is a good place to start.
https://www.alexandriava.gov/medicalreserve

Tenants and Workers United needs volunteers, particularly to help with online teaching and tutoring. Work can be done from home. Please contact Mia Taylor at mtaylor@tenantsandworkers.org

Money

In the US, wealth is mostly held by white people. We’d say that, in the face of government failure to enact anti-racist corrections, now is time for individuals to step up, but that isn’t true. The time to step up was long ago, when the 40 acres (and the mule) weren’t delivered, or when redlining and segregated universities kept people of color from benefiting from the G.I. Bill, or… But what of the present? And the future? As a famous Washingtonian said, the future is now.

ACT and the City of Alexandria established the ACT Now Covid-19 Response Fund to provide emergency funding to nonprofits that are delivering the critical services and programs that are needed by Alexandrians right now.
https://www.actforalexandria.org/act-now-covid-19-response-fund

Tenants and Workers United. “In the wake of this global pandemic, our community faces a dire economic crisis. Many of our members have had their work hours reduced or been laid off completely. For the undocumented community, there is no social safety net: no unemployment benefits and no stimulus check from the federal government. We believe it’s our collective duty to take care of one another, right now and always.”
https://secure.actblue.com/donate/twucovid-19

La Colectiva is accepting monetary and in-kind donations for NoVA migrant families. If donating food or household supplies, please reach out to them in advance.
https://www.facebook.com/LaColectiVA703
https://lacolectiva.org/mutual-aid

Because the experience of this crisis is so personal, I’ll speak personally. I am saving money by not going out. My employer is paying me to telework and is depositing money into my retirement account with every paycheck. This enormous privilege gives me pause. I am not comfortable with the idea that my wealth is increasing while so many others are suffering.

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