The Power of Collaboration Will Help Us Get Through This Together
We are in a moment of radical transformation. In just over a month’s time, we have watched as every community across the nation has been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic: businesses have shuttered, schools have gone virtual, and racial and class inequities, that we have long warned would create disparately negative outcomes in vulnerable communities, have been exposed.
As I reflect on what we will need to rise above this, I am reminded of Whitney M. Young, an Executive Director of the National Urban League from 1961 to 1971 who used his power to bring aid to the Black community. Young believed in working collaboratively to effect change and engaged with business leaders, elected officials, educators, social workers, and community organizers to bring much needed resources to resolve pervasive social and economic problems. His leadership of the National Urban
League during the tumultuous ‘60s offers great insight into how we can achieve these goals.
We have had moments of crisis and uncertainty in the past. Our resiliency has always been rooted in our ability to come together to achieve our common goals. To ease the chaos that the coronavirus has created, we need to harness our collective voice and our collective power.
The Urban League of Broward County is leveraging our community voice and power to help our families impacted by COVID-19. In light of the current crisis, the Urban League is administering a COVID-19 Community Impact Survey which thus far has highlighted the need for food and rental assistance as the primary needs of families. We suspect that these needs will morph over the months ahead.
To respond to these needs, the Urban League relaunched our Families First Fund, with support from philanthropic and corporate partners, to provide financial assistance to impacted low-income families, with a focus on emergency needs. We, along with other community partners, have heightened our current service delivery models to respond rapidly to the growing needs. Our staff is providing job training, entrepreneurship workshops, case management, and education to adults and children while safely
observing social distancing practices.
We have worked closely with the Governor’s Office, Florida Department of Health in Broward County, and the National Guard to secure two testing sites in Broward County, including a walk-up, no-referral- necessary site at the Urban League’s Community Empowerment Center, one of the first of its kind in the state of Florida.
In times of crises, we are uniquely situated to help meet the needs of our communities. The solution requires collaboration not only from the business and government sectors but also within our homes. Our lives, our livelihoods, our families, and our communities depend on it. We must harness the power of collaboration to get through this together.
Power is the ability to effect change. Radical change will require radical collaboration.
The Baughtomline Is This: Our call in this moment is not just to survive, but to thrive. When we cultivate relationships in times of calm, we can activate them powerfully in times of crisis.