“This is how we will survive and hold together. It will work. I don't know how long it will last, but for now, it will work.” ~Octavia Butler, Parable of the Sower
Dear BRIDGE Community:
As we all have been learning and preparing our community and families to respond to the pandemic, COVID-19, I can’t help reflect and remind us that we have this opportunity right now where we have to show real care and compassion in our community.
“Staying home” may be daunting for some. It may mean loss of wages/income, loss of community, loss of childcare and/or loss of family visits. For some it may be a matter of life and death if YOU decide to stay home. It is not an act of fear to self-quarantine if you have the privilege to do so, it may mean the ultimate act of kindness and care. Those of us that have to go out for the various reasons, to keep our communities and families operating and running, to care for those who need care and/or to meet essential needs we have to show care and embodied attention we may have been less attentive to. All of these things are learning opportunities for us. It is an opportunity for mindfulness. We touch our face 350 times a day by habit so try to have a tissue or kerchief on hand. Use soap and water to wash hands. Sanitize keyboards, handles and door knobs regularly.
Some of our colleagues invited me to share the message that we should not only be sending love to those worried about safety and security -- whether it be financial, emotional, psychological and/or otherwise health-related --but just as much we should challenge ourselves to be sending love to COVID-19. (That’s a twist, right?) We are listening to and learning from her as much we are meant to do the same from our Mother Earth and her lessons. Honor our humanity, honor our connectedness and honor our planet. We are all each other’s keeper.
In wishing us all well-being, I have included helpful links below that we have reviewed with members of our BRIDGE family that work in community health and public health as professionals on a local and national level as well as other trusted advisors. Dr. Setti as an MD in community health who serves on our board and Lily Swartz as a trusted advisor in public health communications have been a major support to our operations team. I hope these articles are ones that help you have conversations with family, colleagues and community members of all ages which in turn can help you prepare well. Several of these update regularly!
National and Massachusetts news and updated on COVID-19:
Coronavirus Resources for understanding:
Reading with an impact and equity analysis:
For youth and family conversations:
on a business note
As many of you have noted, we have postponed most large convenings that we have been a part of as host, co-host or have organized. Most near future meetings we will be conducting remotely at BRIDGE per Massachusetts and Berkshire public health guidelines.
Shortly, our trainings will be available remotely accompanied by video chats and webinars. Next week, I will do my fourth Twitter Chat on having an equity and privilege analysis on COVID-19 as we take care of ourselves, our families and each other in community. Stay tuned for more opportunities to engage with BRIDGE.
We are continuing with the ACLU - MA and community leaders convening over Zoom on Tuesday for the program What A Difference A DA makes. (March 17th!) Also we plan to move ahead with future programming as much as we can thinking about access for our stakeholders.
IDEA Institute launches at BRIDGE. (Thanks to support of Moonlight Mile Family Fund and our Moonlight Mile Circle along with the pending Lennox Foundation support, we are finally here!)
Our train-the-trainer program is launching its pilot in April. We are planning on launching in person if possible but if not we will be broadcasting and recording the session for accessibility. The program will run for 20 hrs in April and 20 hrs in May. All interests in taking our Cultural Competence Foundations core training programs are welcome to join us in April. Please find the links here: IDEA Institute: Cultural Competence Foundations Community (Track 1) Course: runs April 17-19th (20 hrs.) and the pilot train-the-trainer is for BRIDGE staff and our business members of the Impact and Changemaker Circles as we build capacity in our networks! the IDEA Institute: Train-the-Trainer (Track 2) Course - 40 hrs: dates are April 16-19th and May 21-24th. Please email email@example.com for inquiries.
We have some exciting staff transitions taking place right now! As you know Dr. Williams served as our Senior Education and Engagement Director (SEED.) She has been recruited for the University of Pittsburgh as the Vice President of Academic Affairs and will stay on remotely as our Special Projects Director with occasional visits and projects in the Berkshires over this year and beyond. We had a wonderful year of collaborating with Dr. Emily Williams internally and have benefited greatly from her professionalism and expertise. We have several projects underway and are excited to continue to work together in the future. Silvia Soria has served as our bilingual facilitator and is moving in to the Women to Women Coordinator role as programs and opportunities grow for that program. Elie Yeo has been serving as our Business and Finance Fellow and is now officially a part of our staff as our Business and Finance Coordinator.
Here is another reflection for our looking ahead that I appreciated:
“Mercury retrograde, in general, is great for the re-’s: redo, revise, revisit, rethink, refocus, etc. Release and revamp!” And also as our newest board member reminded us on Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day that we have another set of “re-s”, Rev. Sloan Letman IV calls us to take note: it is time to “renew, (re)build and restore!”
On a community note - if you can help (leverage your resources for others, keep reading!)
We are connected to families facing delayed seasonal jobs already, missing work due to no childcare or missing paid programing. We have several staff that double as caregivers for their elder parents or family members that are auto immune compromised as many of our neighbors do. We are looking to organize resources to support these families.
If you can make a donation, please mark it COVID-19: W2W for immigrant women and families, COVID-19: TRJ&E for Racial justice for any racial equity issues attached to this virus or COVID-19: HT for our Happiness Toolbox Families or in the memo/comments on PayPal please write COVID-19 Aide. And please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org letting us know you have done so and how you would like your support applied. Also, BRIDGE itself could use support to help our team working remotely with equipment and technology enhancements. Let us know if you can help! COVID-19: Capacity. You can contact us here: https://www.multiculturalbridge.org/support-us.html.
Additionally, we may need support for individuals and families that need food/supplies picked up and dropped off. Please email Rsvp@multiculturalbridge.org if you can support food & supply delivery. In the title of the email, please include the words Rideshare: Meals/Supplies. We are connected to our local Emergency Preparedness teams and networked across the county and so, if there are needs you do not see here, please let us know and we can connect you to the right resources.
"Persisting isn't always safe, but it's often necessary….We persist. This is our place, no matter what." ~Octavia Butler, Parable of the Sower
And finally I leave you with one of my favorite Kripalu Let Your Yoga Dance (LYYD) and Certificate in Positive Psychology (CIPP) treasures, this metta of lovingkindness:
May I be filled with lovingkindness.
May I be safe from inner and outer dangers.
May I be well in body and mind.
May I be at ease and happy.
May you be filled with lovingkindness.
May you be safe from inner and outer dangers.
May you be well in body and mind.
May you be at ease and happy. ~ Lovingkindness meditation
Stay well- I have been enjoying fire cider shots and about to make my own this week!
"We can get ready. That's what we've got to do now. Get ready for what's going to happen, get ready to survive it, get ready to make a life afterward. Get focused on arranging to survive...!" ~Octavia Butler, Parable of the Sower