How are you doing, Hope College? Long time, no see. For me, today is day 26 of quarantine. In some ways, it’s starting to feel normal. I get up at 9:00 everyday, do my classwork and classes, go for a walk and whatever else helps me feel productive. I’m the kind of person who feels guilty for not being “productive enough” in a day, so there’s been a bit of a learning curve as far as giving myself grace. It’s imperative to let yourself take breaks when you need it. You have to begin to understand that doing the same amount of schoolwork in a day is not the same at your kitchen table as it is at Hope. I’m beginning to get the hang of, well, giving myself a break. Although, in other ways, it’s still very scary and anxiety-provoking.
If I know anything about the Hope College community, it’s that members (students, alumni, and faculty alike) love to help out where they can. There are an immense amount of opportunities to help those in need right now. If you’re anything like me, this has been a bit overwhelming, actually. It’s a little hard to figure out who to help since there’s just so many out there who need it.
The largest Native American Reservation in the United States is that of the Navajo Nation. It is located in Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. Those that reside on the Navajo reservation, as well as reservation communities all across the country, are being hit particularly hard by COVID-19. The infection rate is so high that Navajo officials have issued a mandatory curfew, forcing all residents to stay in their homes from 8 P.M. on Friday, April 10 until 5 A.M. on Monday, April 13. This is a last resort attempt to slow the spread of the virus among the community of around 300,000 people (less than half of the population of Detroit). There will be a mandatory curfew every night following from 8 P.M. to 5 A.M.. Those that break curfew are either sentenced to a $1000 fine or 30 days in jail.
Keep in mind that less than 30 percent of the Reservation community had access to clean water before the pandemic. Many families had to haul water from wells and other sources back to their homes weekly or daily. Now, the Navajo Nation is running out and running out fast. The Navajo Nation President has been speaking out frequently, calling for awareness and aid.
The only travelers allowed onto the Reservation are those bringing in necessary supplies. The only permitted out are those classified as essential employees. Soon, the Nation will receive faster tests for the virus (ones that don’t take a week to process), and they project that even more cases will be documented as a result.
A struggle we all know well is that of the average student dealing with this pandemic. We’ve all been sent home unexpectedly, now lacking access to even our local resources. Some of us are having to get up before the crack of dawn because of time differences to attend video chats or take timed tests. The Navajo Nation are dealing with many of these same struggles as well. There’s a large number of college, university and high school students being instructed to access their classes with the help of high-speed internet. Because many of these students don’t have internet in their family homes, reservation officials have set up only three internet hotspots, open from 9 A.M. to 3 P.M. Students are allowed access so long as they sit in their cars.
The Navajo Nation needs help. They need our time, money, platforms and whatever else we can give. Over 80 percent of Hope’s student body are white. Nearly 90 percent of our faculty are white as well. Fifty-eight percent of our students’ families earn annual incomes that are among the top 20% of households in the United States. Almost 5 percent of us are in the top one percent. I think I’m being generous when I say that many of us are financially privileged. This is a good time to recognize all that we have been given and give back in the ways we can to those less fortunate. We need to lift up our brother and sisters in need in the ways that we can.
Remember, do not give what you need. Only give what you can. I have attached multiple Go Fund Me links that will allow you to aid the Nation in multiple ways. Please, keep in mind that the Navajo Nation is the largest and most represented Native American Reservation in the country. I have also attached some resources to help smaller reservations as well. There are many more ways to help. What I have provided is just the tip of the iceberg. If you can’t donate, consider sharing the link to one or more of your social media accounts. Your platform matters. Hang in there, Hope College. Do what we do best.
For any of you currently affected in the Navajo Nation:
Navajo and Hopi COVID-19 Relief Hotline: (833)-956-1554
Bring aid to Navajo students here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/COVID-19-Health-Emergency-now-Education-Emergency
Navajo and Hopi Covid-19 Relief Fund: https://www.gofundme.com/f/NHFC19Relief?sharetype=teams&member=3906690&utm_medium=copy_link&utm_source=customer&utm_campaign=p_na+share-sheet&rcid=c9f3d68787ff4d9a8f991463003c3f1d
Help healthcare workers in tribal areas in the Southwest: https://www.gofundme.com/f/southwest-tribes-covid19-relief
Help fund the BAMA (Bluff Area Mutual Aid) that brings needed materials to the greater Bluff area: https://www.gofundme.com/f/bluff-area-mutual-aid?utm_medium=copy_link&utm_source=customer&utm_campaign=p_lico+share-sheet
The Navajo Water Project: https://www.navajowaterproject.org/give
Help the Wind River Reservation: https://fundly.com/northern-arapaho-covid-19-support-fund#gallery/2
Help the Havasupai Tribe: https://www.gofundme.com/f/havasupai-tribe-covid19-relief-fund
Help The Boa Foundation raise relief money for six Reservations: https://www.gofundme.com/f/support-indigenous-communities-in-usa
Help get a vehicle for the Manderson, Pine Ridge Reservation Elderly Meals Program: https://www.gofundme.com/f/lakotavehicle
Click here to view the Corona Chronicles StoryMap