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We have all been deeply disturbed by the recent and repeated killing of African American citizens in our nation. Regrettably, there is a long history of racism and discrimination in our country. Racism in general and structural racism in particular — embedded in laws, policies, and practices of society and its institutions — is not only history, but remains a strong and oppressive force, negatively affecting and devaluing the lives of Black people and other minorities in America. The protests — in Clarkston and across the nation — that have followed by community members of all races, religions, and nationalities embody the outrage that so many feel. As we consider our next steps in this moment, we should also remember Dr. King’s quote, "In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." The current outcries and demands for dismantling structural racism can serve as an inflection point, a time in which action to address racism and discrimination as key determinants of inequity in health is accelerated. We cannot afford to be silent because there is much that we can do to advance racial justice and equality. Our commitment to social justice demands that we take action.

Last week the Community Advisory Board (CAB) of the Prevention Research Center agreed that we should ensure that the African American community in Clarkston is represented through membership on the CAB and that we take meaningful action to support health equity among all groups experiencing racism and discrimination. We will immediately begin identifying such representatives. We look forward to engaging you in this work and advancing this effort together.

Michael and Rodney

Clarkston Community Advisory Board Meeting Summary

The Clarkston Community Advisory Board (CAB) met via Zoom on Wednesday, June 11. CAB members discussed the current impact of COVID-19 on concerns, needs, and priorities in the Clarkston community. This conversation highlighted several key areas, including financial insecurity among community members (e.g., loss of employment, need for rent relief and bill assistance) as well as challenges within education around technology (e.g., limited/no access to devices, issues with internet access, and the difficulty parents face helping their children with schoolwork). CAB members shared information and data regarding the “digital divide” that exists in Clarkston and discussed potential ways the PRC could support this area. The group also discussed the importance of supporting anti-racist practices in the community and improving inclusivity on the CAB and in our PRC activities to ensure that African American and Black communities within Clarkston have a voice. Lastly, the CAB discussed the best ways to communicate and share information with different community members and groups.
 
Action items from the meeting:
  1. Review the Clarkston COVID-19 Needs Assessment Presentation (shared by Erica on Monday, June 15)
  2. Answer questions about who we should share the findings with by Friday, June 19

Research Team Updates

  • SafeCare Research team still needs your help recruiting parents! Participants earn $25 for completing a one-hour Zoom interview on parenting. Parents are eligible if they speak English, have a child age 0-8 years old, and are either Burmese, Congolese, Eritrean, or Ethiopian. To register, contact Erin Weeks at 404-618-3886, eweeks@gsu.edu, or sign up here.
     
  • The team is developing a strategy for translating SafeCare curriculum in stages as core concepts are identified and modified. They are working to identify companies to translate and back-translate materials.
     
  • The SafeCare Adaptation Team is meeting bimonthly in sub-groups to iteratively develop and adapt the SafeCare curriculum and delivery for each targeted adaptation (Congolese, Ethiopian, Eritrean, Burmese, Afghan).

Resources

The PRC team has been busy responding to COVID-19 in the Clarkston community. Here are some updates on recent work.
  • The PRC COVID-19 Resources in World Languages webpage has been updated! Visit for newly-added World Health Organization (WHO) COVID-19 WhatsApp messaging as well as flyers translated into dozens of world languages from the CDC, IRC, APIAHF, and the DeKalb County Board of Health. 
     
  • The PRC, the Clarkston COVID-19 Community Task Force, and Ethnē Health have created a booklet with answers to common questions about coronavirus. The booklet has been translated into Arabic, Amharic, Burmese, Tigrinya, and Swahili, which can all be found on the PRC's website.
  • The PRC and Refugee Women’s Network created videos in Nepali on what to do if you’re sick or if someone in your house is sick.
     
  • Dr. Iris Feinberg has made hundreds of face masks that have been distributed to the Clarkston community. If you need face masks, contact Dr. Mary Helen O’Connor and let her know how many you need.

 

Opportunities and Events

  • World Refugee Day is on Saturday, June 20. The Coalition of Refugee Services Agencies is hosting a virtual DIY World Refugee Day celebration at Refuge Coffee from 10 AM to 2 PM, including a socially-distanced parade and opportunities for advocacy. All are invited.
     
  • DeKalb County Schools is seeking input on school reopening for the fall. Provide your opinions via their survey, which is offered in 16 languages, by June 21.
     
  • Fresh on DeK, the DeKalb Mobile Farmers Market, is giving away free fruits and vegetables every Friday from 9 AM to 11 AM at the Clarkston Public Library. Pre-register here
     
  • Ethne Health and the City of Clarkston host weekly "Clarkston & Coronavirus" teleconferences on Mondays at 8:30 PM via Zoom. These are open to the public.
     
  • The next Live Healthy DeKalb coalition meeting will be on Thursday, June 25, from 7 - 8:30 PM. Time will be set aside to address concerns and obtain COVID-19 resources. RSVP here
     
  • Part-time interpreter (Congolese Swahili and Tigrinya) position for The Center for Victims of Torture is still available. This is currently a remote position.
     
  • One-hour Zoom research interview on parenting (English-speaking parents of children ages 0-8 from the Burmese, Congolese, Eritrean, or Ethiopian communities)
     
  • Stay updated on resources, events, and COVID-19 testing locations on the PRC Instagram account. Links to all our social media accounts can be found at the bottom of this email. Follow us, tag us, tell your friends about us, and share what you're doing in the community!

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