I've worked alongside Indigenous communities for the last 12 years. I've taught brilliant students. I've also learned the structures around them, including schools, don't always match their brilliance. That was true before the pandemic. It's even more true now.
I hope you've also experienced Indigenous communities' strength and resilience--the youth leader who organized a relief effort for her hometown; the young people who stepped up to support elders; the parents and students who drive hours every day to reach internet access so they can take online classes in a parking lot. Perhaps you've wondered how you can play a role.
#StrongerTogether is a relief effort by community, for community. Launched in the spring to support Indigenous and undocumented famiies facing layoffs and left out of the CARES Act, through #StrongerTogether the NACA-Inspired Schools Network and the New Mexico Dream Team have supported more than 1,300 families with over $600,000 in assistance. It's small in comparison to the magnitude of the challenge, but huge for every family that has received support.
As we head into the cold winter months, requests for support from families and elders are outpacing our ability to fund them. If, like me, you're blessed with the ability to give this holiday season, I hope you'll join the #StrongerTogether effort. You can stand alongside communities on the Navajo Nation, the Pueblos, Pine Ridge, Rosebud, and Albuquerque, as we emerge from the pandemic strong and ready to rebuild. Everything you give will go directly to families that need it the most.
And, whether or not you make a donation here, I hope you'll also consider supporting other community-led initiatives. Here are a few: