By The New Orleans Tribune
Our Voice Nuestra Voz (OVNV), an issues organizing effort that builds power with Black and Brown communities in New Orleans, has given $100,000 to Black and Brown community members affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Coming from OVNV’s #BlackAndBrownGetDown Community Defense Fund, these emergency funds were raised for– and went to– those who were overlooked by the government’s stimulus checks: the city’s undocumented, formerly incarcerated, housing-unstable, and young people.
Black and Brown communities are experiencing unimaginable conditions due to the pandemic and our people make up a larger portion of those who are killed by COVID-19. They also make up a larger portion of essential workers, and are therefore at even greater risk of getting COVID-19 and inadvertently giving it to our family members at home.
Already at high economic risk, Black and Brown residents are now at even greater risk of losing housing or becoming food insecure. Yet government solutions to the COVID-19 crisis continue to leave out the most vulnerable, failing to support undocumented, formerly incarcerated, housing-unstable, and young people in New Orleans. Many are ineligible for stimulus checks or unemployment benefits.
Through its #BlackAndBrownGetDown Community Defense Fund, OVNV gave $1000 grants to 100 Black and Brown community members as emergency relief. All recipients were either undocumented, formerly incarcerated, housing-unstable, food insecure or young people in New Orleans.
Barriers that are often associated with grant-giving, such as requiring a social security number or tax document, were eliminated in order to get funds into the hands of our community members as quickly as possible.
“The coronavirus has exposed many of the flaws in the American system. The health disparities and the economic injustice were a crisis before COVID-19 and have been deepened since this pandemic hit our families,” said OVNV executive director Mary Moran. “It’s been community organizations and community members in neighborhoods that have been working to get food to families and driving them to testing sites. While we push this system to serve everyone in this country, it will be us who have to defend and serve each other. Our Voice Nuestra Voz is blessed to be able to get money to families who need it the most and continue to push to make systems work for us.”
Recently, OVNV put a call out to schools to support them in their work and distance learning. The organization’s next round of giving will go directly to those partnerships and the families we serve with them, its leaders said.
Created in January of 2020, the #BlackAndBrownGetDown Community Defense Fund was created to increase the ability to defend and build a power base within Black and Brown communities.
This article originally appeared in The New Orleans Tribune.