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Web Conversation: In the Midst of COVID-19

Social justice is critical to a thriving democracy, and ever more so in times of crisis.

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In the past months, COVID-19 has crashed into our lives and expectations. The scourge has also made Humanity in Action Fellows and Senior Fellows reexamine their worlds: their hopes and fears, their families and friends, work and responsibilities. At this moment of crisis we share with the Humanity in Action community—and with the larger world—the reflections and actions of our Fellows and Senior Fellows.

Yellow Peril in the Age of COVID-19

Humanity in Action Senior Fellow Hannah Joy Sachs (2018 Berlin Fellowship) shares her experiences and observations concerning the recent rise in anti-Asian racism, the yellow peril.

“COVID-19 has unveiled the reality that yellow peril is not a matter of the past as my history teacher once suggested. Individuals and governments alike have utilized this pandemic as an excuse to label Asians—especially those of Chinese origin—as dangerous, threatening, and incompatible with a safe, healthy, and orderly society.”

Click here to read her article.

The Navajo Nation 8 Months Later

Humanity in Action Senior Fellow Emily McDonnell shares updates about her community, the Navajo Nation in Arizona, eight months after the pandemic began. You can read the full piece here.


The pandemic is impossible to ignore because it has enveloped every aspect of reservation life. 

“Social Distancing” will make Matters Worse

In this piece, Humanity in Action Senior Fellow and Board Member Henry Alt-Haaker (2005 Berlin Fellowship) and Johns Hopkins University professor Dan S. Hamilton argue against “social distancing” and for “spatial distancing.” To them, a one-word shift can make a monumental difference in our attitude and in our approach to this crisis. Physical distance, yes; social distance, no.

“Once the hurricane has passed, what will it have left behind? […] We will best address these questions by reaching beyond our spatial distance, working collaboratively, exchanging ideas vividly, and embracing our common humanity.”

Click here to read their article.

Activating Yourself in the Time of Coronavirus

In this timely and personal comment, Humanity in Action Senior Fellow and Board Member Amish  J. Dave appeals to all those of us who can to become or remain civically active in this critical time. He shares his perspectives as a Seattle-based doctor who is witnessing the pandemic on the frontlines.

Physicians like me are continuing to see patients and do our utmost to save lives. We need you to reach out and offer to donate your time volunteering or your cash or your supplies to help keep our hospitals viable to protect you and your loved ones.

Click here to read his comment.

Reflections on COVID-19

In response to Amish J Dave’s comment, Humanity in Action Founder and Executive Director Judith Goldstein addresses the Humanity in Action community with words that both encourage and warn.

Clarity, I believe, gives strength. Hope is energizing. Engaging in common civic pursuit is emboldening. Voting is resistance. Resisting is what will restore our health.”

Click here to read the full speech.

The Dark Side of Domesticity

In response to the recent glorification of domesticity and being forced to stay home, Humanity in Action Senior Fellow Jasamin Ulfat-Seddiqzai reminds us that these circumstances are not so temporary for many women around the world.

What we experience [now] is very similar to the lives of women in highly patriarchal societies, be it Saudi Arabia, or Europe roughly one hundred years ago. While we usually talk about these women in theory only, now we have the chance to experience their version of captivity first-hand.”

Click here to read the full piece.

Gender, Rights & Resistance

The COVID-19 Eviction Crisis

Tenants in Colorado are facing a looming eviction crisis as the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to reverberate. Through the COVID-19 Eviction Defense Project, Senior Fellow Zachary Neumann and associates conducted an analysis of the risks Coloradoans face and offer assistance.

The COVID-19 Eviction Defense Project is a collaborative, community legal project. Our mission is to provide Coloradoans who are unable to pay their rent during the COVID-19 crisis with information and support.

My Community’s Uphill Battle Against COVID-19

In this article, Humanity in Action Senior Fellow Emily McDonnell shares how her own community, the Navajo Nation in Arizona, struggles with navigating life in a new reality.

There are only 12 healthcare facilities with 170 hospital beds, 13 ICU beds, and 28 ventilators available for the entire Navajo Nation.”

Click here to read the full piece.