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COVID-19 related stay-at-home orders are significant risks to East African people who are Blind, Deaf, and people living with disabilities in Minneapolis. Most of these people are hidden away in very low-income communities where disabilities are misunderstood and where services have not been sought after or provided. SAMRADO, organized by leaders living as proud independent Blind, Deaf, East African organizers can, with allies, initiate the changes that will remove numerous attitudinal, environmental, and institutional barriers. They will bring life-saving self-advocacy to mobilize our most neglected neighbors.
In order to successfully meet this challenge while complying with stay-at-home orders, plans to manage the current COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak must be inclusive and accessible to persons living with disabilities in the East African community. To that end, we want to prioritize urgent services, equipment, support, and self-advocacy leadership to community members as they comply with the state’s mandated stay-at-home orders.
SAMRADO organizers who are living as Blind, and Deaf people, and their allies, understand the higher risk faced by persons with disabilities, to that end, we are requesting emergency funding to provide support to 50 Somali and East African Blind, Deaf people and people living with disabilities in Minneapolis. Our aim is to respond to the physical, mental, emotional, and social impact of COVID-19 on already marginalized and vulnerable community members in Seward, West Bank, Phillips, Whittier, Lyndale, and Powderhorn neighborhoods.
In addition to addressing a pandemic, stay-at-home orders make it even more difficult for these community members to access essential services such as food and transportation. We are putting together a team of 50 volunteers to provide basic needs so that we can then address social isolation and engagement.