“We Keep Each Other Safe”: Guide by and for Black, Indigenous, Latinx, POC and LGBTQ Communities to Help Navigate COVID-19 Pandemic

Forward Together’s guide “We Keep Each Other Safe” acknowledges the uneven and unsafe structures that Black, Indigenous, Latinx, POC and LGBTQ communities must navigate every day when seeking health care.

“This guide is designed by and for our communities to help us keep each other safe during the pandemic and to support all of us in getting the best care possible if any of us or any of our loved ones become sick with COVID-19.” (Forward Together)

It has been a year since the coronavirus unleashed its wrath in the United States—leaving many of this country’s most underserved communities without security, stability or a clue as to what the future holds for them and their families.

As many of us currently battle to stay afloat during this pandemic, one thing is clear: COVID-19 has exacerbated the health disparities and systemic injustices that Black, Indigenous, Latinx, POC and LGBTQ communities face—stealing hundreds of thousands of lives and the happiness of so many folks, leaving us with feelings of fear and anxiety. 

Our communities needed a guide that went beyond breaking down the science of the virus to show how we could truly take care of ourselves and each other. Cue: “We Keep Each Other Safe: A Guide By and For Black, Indigenous, Latinx, POC and LGBTQ Communities Navigating the COVID-19 Pandemic,” a guide created and designed by and for our communities to navigate the pandemic from the ground up in a way that centers our needs. 

(Forward Together)

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What’s in the Community Guide?

What We Need To Know

The Internet is swarming with heaps of incorrect information about the virus and how it affects the body, especially for special populations. The new coronavirus is affecting Black people, Indigenous people, Latinx people, undocumented immigrants and queer and trans people in different ways in comparison to white, heternormative communities, as wells as across and within our communities. We can see the first difference in the disproportionate rates of infection and mortality our communities are experiencing during the pandemic, compared to white people. 

The guide features Black and brown health care providers who break down the specific ways in which we are affected and debunk myths about the virus. 

What We Can Do

As people of color, Indigenous people, immigrants or queer or trans folks, there are a number of inequities and discriminations we face when seeking direct health care, in our work places and even in our own rental homes. 
The guide provides information that can help you advocate for yourself when speaking with your doctor and even when you’re being mistreated by your employer or landlord. 

Community Care

This pandemic has shown us that all of the systems in this country are failing us—from health care to education to housing. While we need to keep advocating for changes to the policies that harm us, this guide is titled after the reality that at the end of the day, we must keep ourselves safe. We need to look out for each other and create networks and systems to help each other weather this pandemic. 

This guide shows us how we can advocate for our loved ones in the health care system and create mutual aid networks to make sure all of the people in our community get the care they need.

Reproductive Justice and COVID

Being in the middle of a pandemic is already scary enough but being pregnant during this uncertain time may be even more stressful.  The guide highlights information about contraception, abortion and pregnancy.

Who’s Behind This Guide?

Forward Together collaborated with  The Committee of Interns and Residents/SEIU and Last Mile to create the guide to acknowledge the uneven and unsafe structures that these communities navigate every day when seeking healthcare. 

What’s Next?

There is a lot that we don’t yet know about the new virus that causes COVID-19. We do know that systemic injustices continue, now in combination with COVID-19, to harm and kill communities of color, poor people, communities doing particular work and living in particular environments, immigrants, and queer and trans people.  

Share the Guide With Your Community 

This guide is a labor of  love for our communities, which is why we are offering free printed guides to mutual aid groups, community organizations, labor unions, health care facilities and any other groups and organizations that need to get this information into communities.  Get your free guides here.

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About

Erin Malone is the Forward Together communications director, based in Brooklyn, New York. Erin develops strategies to spread Forward Together’s message of empowering families with the rights, recognition and resources they need to thrive. She oversees all aspects of the organization’s communications and is the first point of contact for media inquiries.