In the words of our community elder, Annie Laura Howard Stephens, “Be encouraged. Be encouraged. Be encouraged.”
It’s uncertain times like these that remind us to be steadfast in our trust in ourselves and each other. The multiple stories of acts of kindness such as pop-up food pantries, young people running errands for the elderly to lessen their exposure, and varied industries pitching in to assemble masks for the medical industry have served as mirrors of our humanity. These times call for us to look inwards to reflect on the things that matter most and do our level best to make the systems around us reflect what we intuit to be right for all people.
For generations, communities have been well aware of the systemic inequalities that have starved people of the resources they need to thrive, let alone their basic needs such as access to adequate housing, health care, education, clean and sustainable jobs, clean water, and a healthy environment. Shifting dollars away from a militarized U.S. economy towards one that addresses unmet human need is necesary to achieve self-sufficient and resilient communities.
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) has proven to be a global disruptor and forced a needed stress test for every aspect of our daily lives. The impact on the United States has highlighted like never before the glaring inequities in our social systems. These are the same systems that will continue to fail those most vulnerable and all of us unless we generate the change needed to address the crisis.
We at Georgia WAND have been investing in the leadership of black women and women of color to inform and help lead movements that are addressing nuclear weapons, war and systemic violence, nuclear energy and fossil fuels, environmental contamination, defense spending, and inadequate political representation. We also have fought for more public funding, community control of our tax dollars, and leadership development in communities of color. We’ve been able to do that with your support by focusing on education, grassroots organizing, lobbying, leadership development, and coalition work.
Everything has changed and it will be critical that things not go back to the status quo. The stay-in place orders are forcing us to re-think how our economy works and how people will be able to get the things they need in any situation. We are working together with our partners to find ways to shift how we do our work to still meet our organizational and collective goals. This means staying in communication, collaborating, and sharing best practices. We will continue following the leadership of the communities Georgia WAND is working to serve by informing our decisions based on the lived expertise of residents, centering those in Burke County and Neighborhood Planning Unit-V (NPU-V).
We need your support to continue building our educational capacity and, most importantly, successfully maintain our flexibility and pivot towards alternative engagement strategies such as: virtual voter registration, Get Out the Vote (GOTV), and conversations about the human and environmental costs of nuclear weapons and energy production in this country on local communities.
Please help us maintain our voices! And support our partners that are providing direct services to continue fighting to make sure people get what they need and are able to speak for themselves.
Will you make a donation to support our relationships and collaborations with our partners? This is a time when we need you most to help ensure that Georgia WAND emerges from the global pandemic crisis stronger and closer to our goals.