To respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, UUSC has adopted several strategic approaches to ensure its partners and the communities they serve are fully supported as they address the ramifications of the virus and the respective relief efforts taken to provide assistance.
During this time of uncertainty, we have dedicated ourselves to five key principles:
- Global solidarity
- Dismantling patriarchy
- Abolishing white supremacy
- Minimizing displacement
- Supporting equal access to social services and resources
Take our Statement of Conscience Pledge to join UUSC, or continue your support of UUSC, as we provide compassionate care to communities in need of support at this time.
What We’re Doing
- Collaborating: Acknowledging that especially during times of great crisis, communities facing oppression and injustice are well-positioned experts on how to address moments of urgency. As such, we commit to not only an informed partnership, but humble and deferential learning from these communities and inspired action following their leadership.
- Centering: After reinforcing our allyship with and accountability to communities facing oppression, we ensure that our partners and the communities they serve are included in high-level conversations around the COVID-19 pandemic. We will work to lift up the pandemic’s impacts and support community-driven ideas for relief efforts ensuring that everyone is provided fair access to the resources and services they need to fully recover socially, economically, and in a way where our public health systems evolve to better care for the needs of every single person.
- Committing: A dedication to understanding how crises expose and exacerbate disparities. We then commit to fixing those disparities following the leadership and solutions offered by our partners and the communities they serve.
How We’re Doing This Work
Our approach to the pandemic requires us to align our partnerships, programs, and practices in a way that best serves communities facing inequity. Our work to address the impacts of the pandemic has been F.A.S.T:
Flexible: UUSC’s partners are using grant funding to address the immediate needs of the pandemic; in times of urgency, we lean into radical faith in our partners and the solutions they propose to address injustice.
- Supported Al Otro Lado (AOL) in transitioning to a virtual platform to provide legal services to migrants crossing the southern border at the beginning of the pandemic.
- Assisted New Sanctuary Movement-Atlanta (NSM) in donating COVID-19 supply kits (face masks, toiletries, medicines, and food) to more than two dozen undocumented families in Georgia.
Action-Oriented: We seek not only to learn from our partners and the communities they serve, but urge our members into swift action.
- Supported a new partner to provide COVID-19 safety and hygiene kits in the world’s largest refugee camp in Bangladesh, housing Rohingya people forced from their homes in Burma (Myanmar).
Systemic: Systems change during this crisis isn’t solely about ensuring equal access to healthcare and promoting public health, but addressing the systemic injustices exacerbating the crises we’re already facing. We seek restorative resolutions where equity and justice are the foundations of our societies, institutions, and systems.
- Followed the lead of Pacific island partners in Kiribati to fund the translation of English-language materials on hygiene measures and social distancing practices into the I-Kiribati language.
Timely: UUSC strives to be thoughtfully responsive. We believe that the best way to address harm is to listen to the voices of those most impacted and follow their leadership.
- Helped Hands for Hunger in the Bahamas to pilot a digital food voucher program for communities facing unprecedented food insecurity in the wake of Hurricane Dorian and the pandemic.
- Joined Louisiana partner Lowlander Center in supporting Native tribes facing the pandemic and a decimated fishing economy, which has lead to a severe loss of jobs and lower incomes for tribal members.
Photo Credit: iStock – Eblis