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Stronger Together

Hands of Love by Bhuvanesh Gupta

Undoubtedly you've seen more than your fair share of great causes and important charities come across your screens over the last month or so. The Covid-19 restrictions in countries all across the world has exposed countless areas in our global, national and local societies where the underserved, disenfranchised and oppressed are struggling even in the best of conditions. These individuals, organizations and communities need our time and attention more than ever. However, it is understandable if a lot of us are unable to share our resources -- in whatever form -- due to the uncertainty of what tomorrow may bring.

After all, it's difficult to pour from an empty cup.

With that being said, I believe one of the most beautiful aspects of the poor and working class from around the globe is the reality that many people manage to get by because they share what they have, even when they don't have much. It's the type of communal environment I was raised in, and I am proud to say I recognized all too well in my many days of scarcity as a child and as an adult.

That's why I'm inviting you to take a moment to embrace that same spirit, and if your cup is not-so-empty, please consider donating to each or any of these following charities and nonprofits raising money to help those in need.

Remember, you don't have to donate much to make a difference in the lives of others. And maybe, when this pandemic is in our rear view, we'll come together as a society and actually create substantive change for all of these communities so the next emergency doesn't see so many left behind.

Until then, your generosity and support I'm sure will be greatly appreciated:

Navajo and Hopi Families Covid-19 Relief Fund

Navaho + Hopi Covid19 Relief Fund

In Their Own Words: The Navajo Nation and Hopi Reservation are extreme food deserts with only 13 grocery stores on Navajo to serve some 180,000 people, and only 3 small grocery marts on Hopi to serve some 3,000 people. These communities also have high numbers of elderly, diabetic, asthmatic, and cancer-afflicted (i.e., high risk) individuals. These communities could be devastated by coronavirus and COVID-19.

We want to help these individuals, especially the elderly and high risk individuals, and families with children, to gain access to the food and water (1/3 of Navajo residents do not have running water) and other essential items they will need to weather this pandemic, such as food, PPE, and diapers. The need is so great. Navajo regularly has roughly 50% unemployment (most of the residents are elderly or children; those who can work often leave the Nation to find jobs), and Hopi has roughly 60% unemployment.

Our goal will be to help the elderly (especially those raising their grandchildren), the immunocompromised and mobility impaired, single parents, and struggling families by helping them buy groceries, water, health supplies, and necessary items so they (and their vulnerable communities) can be protected from exposure to the virus by engaging volunteers to make these purchases and deliver them to a safe transfer location for our beneficiaries.

Read more here.

Created: March 15, 2020

Goal: $1,500,000

Coronavirus Fund for BIWoC -- Act in Allyship

Coronavirus Relief for BIWoC

In Their Own Words: In the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic, the most marginalized will continue to bear the brunt of our systems' deep injustices. It is clear the American government has not and will not do enough to support Black and Indigenous womxn+ (includes  trans, gender non-conforming, non-binary, agender, genderqueer, intersex folx, femmes and anyone else who may hold less assigned gender power). BIWoC are under-supported and undervalued on a good day, let alone in the middle of a global disaster.

Support us in supporting BIWoC with money to pay for food, rent, toiletries, childcare, supplies, metro tickets, utilities, caring for ill family members and whatever else is needed to survive not only the first wave of this pandemic, but the massive global economic recession that will follow.No amount is too small!

Read more here.

Created: March 23, 2020

Goal: $20,000

Save Lambda Literary

Save Lambda Literary

In Their Own Words: We are reaching out today because Lambda Literary needs your help to survive.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on so many people, families, and organizations—including ours. It has forced us to suspend much of the work we do on behalf of the LGBTQ community and has disrupted many sources of our income.

For the first time in our history, we cancelled the annual Lambda Literary Awards ceremony. We’ve also suspended our work that brings LGBTQ books and authors into schools and we’ve postponed numerous public gatherings.

Like many arts organizations that serve historically marginalized communities, we do not have deep cash reserves from which to draw. We have reached a critical juncture where Lambda Literary’s very survival is at risk.

Without immediate and substantial financial assistance, Lambda Literary will be forced to cease operations.

Our biggest source of support has always been you, our community. We know that there will be no going back to “normal” after this crisis has passed, but we also don’t want to see a world without Lambda Literary.

For over thirty years, this one-of-a-kind organization has centered and celebrated LGBTQ voices because books affirm, validate, and save LGBTQ lives. And we must continue to champion LGBTQ writers and their books, bringing our community together in good times and bad to celebrate our truths.

Read more here.

Created: Unknown

Goal: $175,000

Marcus Book Stores

Marcus Books in Oakland

In Their Own Words: 60 years since its opening, the bookstore has become a literary and cultural hallmark that has hosted iconic authors including Toni Morrison, Rosa Parks, Muhammad Ali, Maya Angelou, Walter Mosley, Angela Davis, Terry McMillan, Chaka Khan, Michael Eric Dyson, Iyanla Vanzant, Sister Souljah, Nikki Giovanni, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Patti LaBelle and so many more of our treasured voices. Just as important are the bookclubs, intimate poetry readings, and countless customer conversations that unfold at Marcus.

Moved by her support for Black bookstores and love for Marcus Books, dedicated Marcus Books customer Folasade Adesanya (founder of The Black Syllabus) began a campaign to raise funds to support the store through its temporary closure due to COVID 19. This pandemic has only exacerbated the struggles that Black bookstores have faced. Between 1999 and 2014, the number of Black bookstores declined by 83%, from 325 to only 54. Folasade’s call to action was met by your incredible response. Black bookstores must be preserved.

With your extraordinary support, our original goal was met! Wow. Thank you to everyone who contributed to this fundraiser. Your immediate backing has been nothing short of inspiring and the Marcus Books family is deeply grateful for the love everyone has shown! Most grateful are the founders’ children, Blanche Richardson, Billy Richardson, and Karen Johnson, who own and run the store.

This campaign is a testament to the power of collective effort, particularly during this challenging moment which impacts us all in drastic ways. We do not take it lightly that in a moment of global crisis, our community shows kindness. Whether you donated financially, shared the link among your social media circles, called the bookstore directly to put in a phone order, or sent your well wishes, our gratitude spills over.

Your support has enabled us to dream beyond the harsh reality of right now and reclaim a future where Marcus Books doesn’t just survive but thrives, evolves, and gives back.

Our intention with continuing this effort is in line with the bookstore’s history: to be in the position to continue to support our community. This, in good faith, requires dreaming beyond our contemporary moment -- a privilege made available through your display of generosity. Funds raised from this continued effort will go toward sustaining Marcus Books and the communities that support it.

Read more here.

Created: April 8, 2020

Goal: $200,000

Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders

MSF-DWB Covid19 banner

In My Own Words: For those who feel the 4 organizations and charities mentioned above are too limited in their scope in aiding those whose lives and businesses have been greatly disrupted by Covid-19, I offer this reminder: Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has always been on the frontlines of providing much needed healthcare and assistance for communities often forgotten, dismissed or worse.

Although their organization can use your support at any time [pre-, during, and post-pandemic], they are the leaders in treating the 70 million displaced people around the world during our ongoing refugee crisis. That hasn't changed in the face of the coronavirus outbreak at all.

Even before it was officially declared a pandemic, MSF were in Hong Kong, Italy, Greece, Syria and South Africa, treating the vulnerable and responding to the call for help. Recognizing that asylum seekers are taking shelter in high-risk environments where it is difficult to follow government mandates and quarantines, the organization is as dedicated as ever to their cause.

Please join them in their effort to expand their response and treat as many people as possible during this unprecedented moment in modern history.

Read more here.

Goal: Ongoing

Of course, there are plenty of charities requesting all hands-on-deck, and I'm sure you may know some who you consider even more needy than those above. And that's great. Please feel free to share any organizations or charities who raising to fight the effects of Covid-19 in the comments below.

The more we share, the more we can keep our most vulnerable alive and well, as well as recognize that we're stronger together and far more powerful than we ever imagined.

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