With a pandemic upon us, here are some links and notes that I hope will be of use. Much love as we take care of ourselves and those around us.
Thanks to the Asheville Blade for this informative article, Preparing for COVID-19 – definitely worth reading and sharing widely.
Social justice lens
“Coronavirus: Wisdom from a Social Justice Lens,” is a special episode of the Healing Justice Podcast which offers some illuminating insights, particularly from a disability justice perspective. And as things unfold, there are many, many layers to unpeel and address when looking at this pandemic through a social justice lens.
Beautiful examples of community care have been blooming in WNC, here are a few:
Asheville Survival Program – a Facebook group started by local mutual aid activists.
Asheville/WNC Outreach – “This form was developed by a group of concerned citizens in Asheville to help support existing agencies and organizations, if the need arises.”
As always, Beloved Asheville is on the front lines of supporting many of those in our community with the fewest resources. They have a COVID-19 specific fundraiser underway, and a call to action regarding the Buncombe County jail which is included below.
Coping With Corona: A Collective Space is an upcoming webseries being coordinated by Tepeyac Consulting. Check out this amazing line up: Trauma Resiliency Skills and Mental Health Support – Bianca Ingrid Gragg and Susanne Walker Wilson; On Death and Dying – Omisade Burney-Osunfunke, Omisade Burney-Scott, and Vivette Jeffries-Logan; Equity Issues and Protecting Our People – Desiree Lynn Adaway; Mutual Aid – Ed Whitfield; North Carolina Policy and Public Health Responses – NC Representative Graig Meyer and AVL City Council Candidates Nicole Townsend and Kim Roney; Opportunities for Social Connection during Social Isolation – Ada Volkmer; Holding Spiritual Space – Sterling E. Freeman; Virtual Group Yoga – Patoi Roja.
You can find details here: tepeyacconsulting.org/coping-with-corona-collective
Thanks to Beloved Asheville for this call to action:
We call for pretrial release for all non-violent offenders in Buncombe County jail. The Governor of NC has said groups of more than 100 are not allowed to congregate in the interest of public health. Buncombe County average daily jail count 519 (circled on the left) and 356 are in custody pretrial (circled on the right). In the interest of public health, we call on Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office and the Buncombe County District Attorney’s Office to work with the courts for the immediate release of all non-violent offenders on pretrial release from the Buncombe County jail.
Please add your voice to this call!
Update 3/18/2020 – some inmates are being released
Also underway is this campaign to “Halt evictions in Buncombe County during the COVID-19 Crisis,” click the link to sign the petition.
Occupancy Tax Reform
As I wrote last week, insufficient occupancy tax reforms are being negotiated between the City and County and a brand new hotel lobbying association. Reforms which are far and away from what our community needs. Originally a discussion of this issue was slated for this Tuesday’s county commissioners meeting, but that has wisely been taken off of the agenda due to the COVID-19 crisis. Hopefully the county/city/hotel lobby will not rush this proposal through the short session without a community conversation. Particularly as this crisis is bringing the fundamental weaknesses of the tourism industry to light. Of note is the fact that TDA board member Andrew Celwyn is suggesting that the TDA take “$3 million from advertising and set up a fund to help hospitality related workers for time missed due to loss of work or sickness.” We can certainly voice our support of that excellent idea while advocating for a complete overhaul of what the tax is designated for and who gets to decide how it’s spent.
Update: More here.
Praying for a just transition and healing from the pandemics of colonialism, capitalism, and oppression that have brought us to this harrowing place.
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