We send you greetings in this time of collective isolation. We hope that you are healthy, safe, and supported by family and friends.
Like many of you, we have been asking ourselves what we can do to pitch in, both as individuals and as a group. ICOA’s primary responsibility is to our writer-in-residence, Pedro X. Molina, and his family. Pedro has been grounded but not slowed, as he remains active on Twitter, sends daily cartoons to Nicaragua (many criticizing his country’s COVID-19 response), and remotely instructs his Ithaca College students from the apartment he shares with his wife and two children. Pedro created the image at the top of this post, thinking of the devastating economic impact of the coronavirus. But largely thanks to your support, the Molinas’ situation, for now, is stable.
And so we have decided to skip our spring appeal this year and urge you, our loyal donors, to join us in giving as generously as you can to organizations that serve the most vulnerable members of our community.
Some local efforts you might consider:
Please also consider patronizing local businesses that have shifted to online sales, delivery (e.g., here or here), gift cards, virtual tip jars, and other ways of staying afloat. Our hairdressers, landscapers, house cleaners, music teachers, and other service providers (not to mention freelance artists and writers) will also be grateful for our support through this crisis.
You may also want to consider supporting groups that, like ICOA, protect writers, journalists, artists, and other vitally important voices in places where governments may be using the pandemic to suppress human rights and free expression. Some examples are PEN America, the Committee to Protect Journalists, International Cities of Refuge Network, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, International Human Rights Art Festival, and Artists At Risk Connection.
In gratitude and solidarity,
The ICOA board