In light of the recent news regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19), we wanted to send an update to our community about steps Social Justice Fund NW is taking as we carefully monitor recommendations from local public health officials and work to better understand the implications.
In response to the emergent COVID-19 epidemic, SJF is working to support a culture of collective responsibility and accountability to one another. We are encouraging folx who are in good health to center the impact on our most vulnerable neighbors and their caregivers by exploring what community accountability means for you. Stay at home if you are exhibiting symptoms of acute respiratory illness (cough, sneezing, fever, shortness of breath) and recognize that even if you are generally healthy you can still be a potential carrier and transmitter of this virus; therefore “social distancing” strategies will help decrease the risk of infection spreading overall.
We are also concerned about the potential for judgement and shaming given heightened anxiety, and we know that racism and xenophobia often become more overt in times like this. Keeping our community safe means having an awareness of how some practices might be motivated more by racial fears than staying safe. One proactive thing you can do is to support local businesses (even if that means ordering takeout or buying a gift card). All small businesses are at risk right now, and those owned by Asian people and other BIPOC are being impacted by racism on top of a sharp decrease in sales. We link to additional resources below about ways to stay safe without being racist.
SJF has made a number of decisions in regards to our work in the coming weeks:
- All staff will be working remotely in the month of March as we move all meetings to videoconferencing or phone.
- Giving Project sessions will also take place via videoconferencing (Zoom). If you are participating in an ongoing Giving Project look out for more information from SJF Program Managers. And if you’d like to donate to one of the ongoing Economic Justice Giving Projects (in Seattle and Portland) then you can do so here.
- Public events hosted by SJF in March are being canceled. That includes the celebration we had scheduled for outgoing ED Mijo Lee on March 17 (now rescheduled to April 24 – see Facebook event page.)
- Other events in which SJF staff are participating or which are in conjunction with partner organization may still go on as planned. If you have any questions about whether an event is still happening don’t hesitate to follow up with someone from our staff.
We encourage all community members to stay informed and take basic precautions that health professionals advise to prevent the spread of the flu and common cold, as well as to help prevent the spread of COVID-19:
Hygiene & Expected Etiquette
- Practice respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene
- Clean your hands often with an alcohol based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 -95% alcohol, or wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. Soap and water should be used preferentially if hands are visibly dirty. Watch the handwashing hygiene video
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, be sure to wash hands after doing so
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue if you cough or sneeze OR do so into your upper sleeve and not your hand
- If you or someone in your household may be sick, avoid close contact with others.