February Newsletter | We’re In This Together, Still

Deaconess Community,

As we celebrate Black History Month, I am exceedingly grateful for all the leaders, system-changers, healers, abolitionists, revolutionaries, and trailblazers that have come before us. In living the Deaconess mission, we strive to carry on their legacy as we focus on elevating and developing liberatory practices to heal ourselves, each other and our communities reeling from the generational impact of institutionalized racism and systemic oppression.

For two years COVID-19 has magnified these harms while also reminding us of the interconnectedness of our communities. At the onset of the pandemic, we saw its first waves uniquely devastate the elder community. The most recent variant, Omicron, has impacted our children more than ever before and continues to do so. The St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force has reported that a record number of children have been hospitalized with COVID-19 and often need to be placed in the intensive care unit. Yet, there have been repeated attempts by governmental bodies and special interest groups in Missouri, Illinois, and many other states to undermine health and safety recommendations that aim to reduce transmission of the highly communicable COVID-19 virus, particularly in schools.

Many of us, our children, and those we know are adhering to the health and safety recommendations and suggested mitigation tactics, and yet we may learn that we have been exposed to the virus and/or have tested positive for the virus. The reality is, the last two dominant variants, Delta and Omicron, are more easily transmissible and have spread even as people take the proper precautions to protect themselves, their families and communities. Rush University Medical Center recently published an article, “Stressed Due to COVID-19? You’re Not Alone,” acknowledging the persistent trauma that we all face at this time and encouraging us to be compassionate with ourselves, first. Many of us are doing the best we can, and in some instances, we are doing so within systems that have repeatedly and deliberately failed to serve us equitably.

In this moment, I encourage you to center your own healing. Ultimately, individual healing will heal communities.

We are in this together. We will persevere together.

In service to the mission,

Bethany Johnson-Javois
President & CEO
Deaconess Foundation

To read the rest of our February eNewsletter, click here.