COVID-19 has turned everything on its head. Nobody is unaffected by the sudden policy changes and stay-home orders that have been put into effect across the country and throughout the world. But COVID-19 has brought with it so much more than that.
COVID-19 has swept into the US a new wave of xenophobia and anti-Semitism and has exacerbated the racist structuring of our nation. Asian Americans and Chinese Americans especially have been receiving harassment, alienation, and even death threats. Jewish people have been targeted by wanna-be terrorists who believe conspiracy theories over hard facts and science. And people of color are especially being pushed to their limits to provide for themselves, their families, their communities just to survive either the mass job loss our country has experience or being given essential worker status. Prior to the global pandemic, these injustices, of course, were already happening, people were harassing Asian Americans for their cultures, conspiracy theorists were planning to bomb synagogues, and people of color were already working too hard just to earn minimum wage. COVID-19 has exacerbated the issues being experienced and brought them to the forefront. YWCA Metropolitan Phoenix saw that then, and we especially see it now.
From the moment that COVID-19 was put on our radar, the YWCA Metropolitan Phoenix was strategizing how this novel virus would affect Arizona’s most vulnerable populations. From the elders we serve day in and day out through our West Valley Senior Center and Home Delivered Meals program to the women and people of color we aim to uplift and empower in everything we do. And so, we’ve done what he have done so many times before – we got up and got to work. We modified our meal delivery program so our seniors would still be fed and our drivers at our senior center would still have jobs. Our senior center staff have worked with such a passion and enthusiasm to be able to get out more than 6,000 meals delivered to the seniors of El Mirage and Glendale. We have called out instances of Xenophobia and racism, supporting and uplifting the Japanese American Citizens League and the Anti-Defamation League. The Prosperity Team developed new curriculum around COVID-19 and its impact on our financial landscape, including unemployment, what to do with your stimulus check, the CARES Act, and so much more.
The YWCA Metropolitan Phoenix’s ability to stay active, keep showing up to the table, now virtually, to do the work, and endure in such a strange and ever-changing time demonstrates to our community that we will not give up fighting the good fight to eliminate racism and empower women. If we can handle COVID-19 we can handle just about anything, and with the same passion and excitement as always.