As COVID-19 continues to create uncertainty, we here at SPARK are committed to centering our communities, those most affected, safety and comfort. Our approach is informed by our own expertise in public health and emergency response, radical community organizing, and with the evolving guidance of the CDC. Further, in these coming weeks we are uplifting healing, disability justice, and community in the work that we will continue to do.
The Steps We Are Taking
SPARK, as an organization, will be practicing social distancing as a precaution and to hold true to our Reproductive Justice values of centering the safety and health of our communities and our staff. To do so, SPARK’s physical office will be closed for a minimum of 2 weeks, while we continue to monitor the state of public health in Atlanta, GA.
Workplace Readiness Response
As of last week, we have shifted to remote work from home, are temporarily suspending work-related non-essential travel, and are offering digital options for work related gatherings and meetings–with our partners and base. SPARK will be promoting community work block times–to allow us to collectively support each other’s work while centering social support, 1:1 team member support sessions, extended sick leave options, and flexible schedules.
Shifting our Radical Community Organizing to Radical Digital Community Organizing and Engagement
We will be shifting current and ongoing programming to digital platforms where possible and adding new ways to engage to our roster. We plan to create a Facebook support group to connect with those who are the most vulnerable at this time (the elderly, the immunocompromised, etc.) and those who are simply overwhelmed, anxious, or lonely. We are also planning to have some fun social activities for folx to engage in as well. Whether it be a book club with an online chat, a viewing party, or just a digital ki.
A Request of Our Partner Organizations
During this time we will have to shift our participation in coalition and partner meetings to a video platform. We will reassess our ability to participate in person following the initial two week period.
Please continue to keep us up-to-date on your programming and ways to plug in. We are still excited to collaborate with you, whether it be via zoom, skype, or FaceTime. We do not want the work to stop and we are invested in continuing to explore specific ways we can support during this time.
Over the next few days, we will begin compiling any resources we or others may have to offer to the community. As a part of our desire to continue to uplift healing justice, this will be a top priority for us.
CDC guidelines: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
Online Meeting/Gathering Resources
Zoom Video Tutorials
How can organizers adapt to a world with social distancing?
College Students: U-Haul Offers 30 Days Free Self-Storage amid Coronavirus Outbreak
Donate Coronavirus: Wisdom from a Social Justice Lens Podcast Episode
Controlling COVID-19 transmission continues to rely greatly on common health promotion efforts and practices, such as, sanitizing/disinfecting commonly used surfaces, hand-washing, covering your cough or sneeze, and when possible social distancing. Let’s continue to center each other and do our part in taking on these practices. Also, in a time of social distancing, we know that this can affect our mental health and social wellness. As we mentioned, we will be pouring our efforts into identifying many ways of actively engaging our communities and creating opportunities for social support.
In the meantime, please take care of yourselves, each other, and our communities to the best of our abilities. And, if capacity allows, offering additional support to those who are most at risk, including our elders, and those with pre-existing health conditions and/or are immunocompromised.
We will keep you all updated as to when we will be returning to our office and normal office operations.
Lastly, we encourage you all to communicate your own ideas and desires for SPARK. WE ARE STILL HERE! We are still working to uplift Trans folx, Queer folx, Youth folx of color, Black womxn, and Womxn of color. Please do not hesitate to tell us what you want and need.
We can be reached through Instagram, Facebook or Twitter @SPARKRJNOW or at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.