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← 5 needs that any COVID-19 response should meet

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Showing Revision 6 created 08/20/2020 by Erin Gregory.

  1. Good evening.
  2. It is such a blessing to work
    at the Harlem Children's Zone,
  3. an African-American-led organization
    that has pioneered the field
  4. of comprehensive place-based services,
    from cradle to career.
  5. And that word, "comprehensive,"
    is so key to what we do.
  6. You know, most interventions
    focus on one piece

  7. of a complicated, giant puzzle.
  8. But that's not enough to solve the puzzle.
  9. You don't solve education
    without understanding the home context
  10. or the home environment
    of our young scholar.
  11. Or the broader context of health,
    nutrition or criminal justice.
  12. The unit of change for us
    is not the individual child,

  13. it's the entire neighborhood.
  14. You have to do multiple things
    at the same time.
  15. And we have 20 years of data
    to prove that this works.
  16. We've had 7,000 graduates
    of our baby college,
  17. we've eliminated the Black-white
    achievement gap in our schools.
  18. We've reduced obesity rates
    in our health programs
  19. and have close to 1,000 students
    enrolled in college.
  20. We weave together
    a net of services so tightly,
  21. so that no one will fall
    through the cracks.
  22. And we've inspired global practitioners.

  23. We've had over 500-plus
    communities across the US
  24. and 70-plus countries
  25. come and visit us to learn our model.
  26. You see, the problems of the globe,
    and the problems of the world
  27. are not neatly siloed into buckets.
  28. So therefore the solutions
    must be comprehensive,
  29. they must be holistic.
  30. And now we're in the midst
    of a global pandemic.

  31. COVID-19 has revealed to us
    what we always knew to be true.
  32. The poorest among us pay the highest price
    with their lives and their livelihood.
  33. And that's playing out every day
    in the African American community,
  34. where we're 3.6 times
    more likely to die of COVID
  35. than our white counterparts.
  36. We're seeing those health disparities
    on the ground in New York City,
  37. our nation's epicenter.
  38. And to compound the impact
    of the health disparities,
  39. there's significant economic devastation,
  40. where one in four
    of our families in Harlem
  41. report food insecurity,
  42. and 57 percent report a loss of income
    or a loss of their job.
  43. But to better understand the work
    of the Harlem Children's Zone,

  44. I want to share a story with you,
  45. about a second-grade scholar named Sean.
  46. Sean is a beautiful Black boy
  47. whose smile would light up
    any room that he's in.
  48. And when quarantine began in March,
  49. we noticed that Sean
    wasn't attending virtual school.
  50. And after some investigation,
  51. we've come to learn that Sean's mom
    was hospitalized due to COVID.
  52. So he was at home
    with grandma and his baby sibling,
  53. who was his only viable support system,
  54. since Sean's father is incarcerated.
  55. Grandma was struggling.
  56. There wasn't much food in the household,
  57. limited diapers,
  58. and Sean didn't even have a computer.
  59. When mom was released from the hospital,
  60. their challenges deepened,
  61. because they could no longer
    stay with grandma,
  62. due to her preexisting health conditions.
  63. So Sean, his baby sibling and his mom
    had to go to a shelter.
  64. Sean's story is not atypical
    at the Harlem Children's Zone.

  65. We know Sean and millions like him
    all across the country
  66. deserve to have everything
    that this world has to offer,
  67. without inequality
    robbing them of that opportunity.
  68. All the result of racism
  69. and historical and systemic
    underinvestment
  70. are now compounded by COVID-19.
  71. Our comprehensive model
  72. uniquely positions the Harlem
    Children's Zone in the fight of COVID.
  73. The success that we have
    on the ground in Harlem
  74. makes it imperative,
  75. and it is our responsibility
    to share what we know works
  76. with the country.
  77. We have developed a comprehensive
    COVID-19 relief and recovery response
  78. for our community,
  79. that was surfaced from our community,
  80. focused on five primary areas of need,
  81. and already servicing
    families like Sean's.
  82. They are the following.
  83. One, emergency relief funds.

  84. We know that our families need cash
    in their hands right now.
  85. Two, protecting our most vulnerable.

  86. We know our families need access
    to essential goods and information.
  87. So that is food, that's masks,
  88. that's a curated resource list
    and public health campaigns.
  89. Three, bridging the digital divide.

  90. We believe that internet
    is a fundamental right.
  91. So we need to ensure
    our families have connectivity,
  92. and also all school-age
    children in a household
  93. have the proper learning devices.
  94. Four, zero learning loss.

  95. We know that there's a generation
    of students at risk
  96. of losing an entire year
    of their education.
  97. We need to make sure that we are providing
    high-quality virtual programing,
  98. in addition to having safe
    reentry planned for school reentry.
  99. And five, mitigating
    the mental health crisis.

  100. There's a generation at risk
    of having PTSD,
  101. due to the massive amounts
    of toxic stress.
  102. We need to ensure that our families
    have access to telehealth
  103. and other virtual supports.
  104. We have six amazing partners
    across six cities in the United States

  105. that are adopting our model
    for their own context in their community.
  106. They are Oakland, Minneapolis,
  107. Chicago, Detroit, Newark and Atlanta.
  108. In addition to those partners,
    we have three national partners,
  109. who will be sharing our model
    and sharing our strategies
  110. through their network,
  111. in addition to amplifying our impact
    by policy advocacy.
  112. We will have impact on three levels.

  113. Individual impact on the ground in Harlem,
  114. across a number of outcomes in education,
  115. in health, in economics,
  116. reaching 30,000 people.
  117. There's community-level impact
    across six cities,
  118. again through our amazing partners,
  119. that will reach an additional
    70,000 people.
  120. And then national impact,
  121. not only through policy advocacy,
  122. but through capacity building at scale.
  123. Our answer to COVID-19,

  124. the despair and inequities
    plaguing our communities,
  125. is targeting neighborhoods
    with comprehensive services.
  126. We have certainly not lost hope.
  127. And we invite you to join us
    on the front lines of this war.
  128. Thank you.