Solidarity in the context of COVID-19
We are deeply aware that this pandemic was preventable. Governments and neoliberal institutions have failed us. We also know that those who are systematically oppressed by racism, xenophobia, transphobia, and classism will be the most impacted by this crisis. At the same time, these same communities, especially those who are disabled and chronically ill, are those from whom we have the most to learn in times of crisis. We are grateful for their instructive leadership, and we are listening.
International accompaniment in these times will look very different. We are working alongside our partners and others with whom we collaborate to make the very best decisions as to how we can prevent the spread of the virus, while finding creative ways to support and accompany our partners. The Guatemalan state has put into place extensive measures to prevent the spread of the virus. While state-wide precautions are necessary, we have serious concerns around the potential for increased criminalization and militarization during these times.
In light of the rapidly changing nature of this crisis, we will periodically update this page with action opportunities in solidarity with the people most impacted by state failures and discrimination. Please check back frequently!
For decades, NISGUA has focused on political organizing and international accompaniment at the request of our Guatemalan partners. Unlike many non-profits, we do not believe that apolitical charity will change the systems of violence that impact Black, Indigenous, POC, poor, and colonized communities. We do believe that mutual aid can be used as a timely tool to redistribute resources to people most impacted by a given situation. Anytime we engage in or facilitate mutual aid, we do so with a firm grounding in political education, long-term relationships, commitment to systemic change, and full decision-making by the most impacted people.
NISGUA redistributes a percentage of our annual income to Indigenous and Campesino groups in the U.S. and Guatemala. In light of the COVID-19 crisis we will significantly increase these small grants for 2020 and will distribute almost $25K to our partners in Guatemala thanks to a small group of grassroots movement funders. In addition, we will make our annual gift, or Shuumi in acknowledgement of the unceded Ohlone territories where our Oakland office and staff reside.
These are fundraisers that we trust will go directly go to Indigenous, Campesino, and poor/working class Guatemalan people impacted by COVID-19:
- “Nuestro objetivo es ayudar a las familias más pobres o necesitadas de nuestro municipio San Rafael Pétzal ante esta PANDEMIA MUNDIAL que se llama CORONAVIRUS.”
- “COUR has opened a donations collection site (centro de acopio) in zone 1 and is distributing food aid and basic supplies in urban settlement communities in Guatemala City, Chinautla, Villa Nueva, and San Juan Sacatepéquez.”
- “The fund will help cover basic necessities such as food, medicines and protective equipment as well as increased operational costs such as telecommunications and transportation.” Write “BTS Emergency Solidarity Fund” in the comment box.
“We formed in March 2020 to address the emerging needs of our most vulnerable local community members. We represent the eight San Joaquin Valley counties and many of us are from organizations that work with low-income communities, undocumented individuals and families, workers, LGBTQ+, and communities of color.”
- “Kaqchikel-Maya folks are trying to raise funds for the village of Patzun, Chimaltenango in one of the 1st places hit by the COVID-19.”
- “Given the urgent and changing situation with the COVID-19 worldwide pandemic, the International Mayan League is leading efforts to ensure that Maya peoples of the Diaspora are informed, and their basic needs are met during this pandemic.”
- “Help raise $30,000 to support food solidarity and multilingual informational media with Mayan communities in Guatemala. Grassroots community organizations DESGUA and Promotores de la Liberacion Migrante (PLM), with more than fifteen collective years working with Mayan communities , are collaborating in efforts to recover from the impacts and consequences of the COVID-19 shutdown.”
- “In the spirit of solidarity, IWOC NYC is helping collect funds for Magdaleno, an undocumented neighbor who passed from COVID19 on April 12th at Maimonides Medical Center.“
- “We understand our responsibility and take action to support the liberation of Indigenous and Black communities, including those in the Global South. As the Ch’orti’ community continues to build and strengthen strategies of survival that include chicken farms, bakeries, community gardens and sacred ways of sustaining life, we join their cause and unite to protect people and the planet.”
“In response to the growing public health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the United States government’s inadequate response, we have developed this working toolkit to help guide and support the work of organizations and individuals looking to demand the release of people in ICE custody. Organizations and individuals should assess their capacity and determine what strategies and targets fit best with the resources they have available and the number of people involved. This is by no means an exhaustive list of options and existing tools, its an attempt to centralize what has already been created and make it accessible to different local and regional contexts. ” – Detention Watch Network
Take a look at the Cameroon American Council’s #DoNotDeportCameroonianProtesters Toolkit
“Over 100 Cameroonians have unfortunately been deported over the past couple of weeks. Before the first wave of deportation, the Cameroon American Council (CAC) + partners filed a complaint on behalf of 8 Cameroonians who had been detained at Adams County Correctional Center in LA, and who had been forcibly made to sign deportation papers. This complaint led to 2 of the Cameroonians being taken off the deportation flight. Now, ICE is retaliating by trying to deport these 2 Cameroonian migrants, who we are referring to by the initials J.B. and C.A. We must demand a stop to these deportations! Moreover, due to the 5 ongoing conflicts in Cameroon that threaten the lives of these migrants, we must demand that Cameroon is granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS), meaning that ICE would be unable to deport people to Cameroon. CAC + partners sent an open letter to Pres. Trump this week demanding that TPS is granted.”
“Given the recent danger of Coronavirus (COVID-19), we are gravely concerned about the health of more than 37,000 people in immigration jails across the country. From Japanese internment to the concentration camps in Nazi Germany, history shows that disease is one of the main causes of death once human beings are warehoused under inhumane conditions.” – Grassroots Leadership
“Policymakers and the administration have put forward plans that attempt to return the economy back to a status quo where safety and security are promised only to corporations and the wealthy few. Gambling trillions of tax dollars on stimulating the stock market can’t fix the shortage of hospital beds, or the pollution in our skies. Only workers can.
In this moment of crisis, we need to change the rules. Let’s pull together, as we’ve done in times past, to demand our government provides money and care to those who are hardest hit by this crisis.” – ThePeoplesBailout.org
Actions to take:
“The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us into an unprecedented national emergency. This emergency, however, results from a deeper and much longer-term crisis – that of poverty and inequality and of a society that ignores the needs of 140 million people who are poor or a $400 emergency away from being poor.
These millions of people are in dire need of critical attention immediately. We call on you to fulfill your moral and Constitutional responsibilities: expand the COVID-19 emergency provisions to care for us all and enact our Moral Agenda immediately.” – Poor People’s Campaign
In July 2019, the Guatemalan Interior Minister and the acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security signed an Asylum Cooperation Agreement, also known as a “safe third country agreement.” This signing came after the Guatemalan Constitutional Court ordered former President Morales not to sign the agreement without congressional approval. After Trump threatened to ban Guatemalans with lawful U.S. visas and to tax remittances, Morales sent his Interior Minister to sign. In the following weeks, El Salvador and Honduras signed similar agreements.
The agreements give the U.S. power to deport asylum-seekers to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador even if they are not from these countries. By deporting asylum-seekers to countries they are not from and to places where they may face danger, the U.S. denies them protection and violates international refugee law.
Due to the pandemic, on March 17th the Guatemalan government announced a temporary suspension of flights carrying migrants being deported from the U.S. to Guatemala under the safe third country agreements. This suspension has not terminated the agreements with Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, and deportations are scheduled to resume as soon as “sanitary protocols are established.” With our partner organizations we will continue to demand “No safe third country agreements with Central America!” and to stand in solidarity with migrants that are being disproportionately affected by this pandemic.
“This visionary bill divests our taxpayer dollars from brutal and discriminatory policing and invests in a new vision of public safety—a vision that answers the call to defund the police and allows all communities to finally BREATHE free. In honor of the lives of those stolen by police and state-sanctioned violence — Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Natasha McKenna, George Floyd, Aiyana Stanley-Jones, Elijah McClain, Pearlie Golden, Kayla Moore, Freddie Gray, Atatiana Jefferson, Oscar Grant, and far too many more — We are rising up against all the ways that the criminal-legal system has harmed and failed to protect Black communities. The current moment requires a solution that fundamentally shifts how we envision community-care and invest in our society. History is clear that we cannot achieve genuine safety and liberation until we abandon police, prisons, and all punishment paradigms.”
- Mujeres Transformado el Mundo (MTM) and Sara Curruchich are organizing this fundraiser on behalf of Festival Abrazarte Guatemala. Thousands of people have lost their houses, harvests, and animals in the Northeast region of Guatemala due to Hurricane Eta; this fundraiser is being organized to support them.
- “The communities of Cotzal are in current need of funds to deal with the aftermath of this storm, as it is causing damages to houses, crops, and health. One community has been flooded by the rain, and others negatively impacted. The municipality has been without electricity for the last three days. This is on top of the Covid-19 pandemic, which is furthering the precarity of life. ” Organized by Giovanni B’atz.
- “Alianza Americas, Presente.org, and the Hispanic Federation have teamed up to support this urgent relief campaign. We invite other organizations to join us in this urgent mission and in our ongoing efforts to support Latin American and immigrant communities impacted by COVID-19 and intersecting crises like the climate emergency. Every day, we are sending urgently needed funds to groups doing work directly on the ground.”