A Letter From Brightbeam in Response to Coronavirus

Mar 13, 2020 12:00:00 AM

by Chris Stewart

Dear Friends and Fellow Activists,

Our brightbeam team cares about your safety and ours. 

Like you, we are closely watching the national news and government reports about the coronavirus (COVID-19) so that we can act appropriately.

We are fortunate that our organization converted to being a completely virtual team 18 months ago, which means we have the ability to keep working (so long as we’re healthy) while states, cities, and school districts take steps recommended by scientists to ensure public safety.  

At the same time, brightbeam exists to shine a light on the condition of children living at the margins of their cities, and we are deeply concerned that when schools close it will have an outsized impact on large populations of economically insecure or unhoused families. Many of our brightbeam parents and students fall into this category and we want to do all we can to make sure a tough time for all of us isn’t an even tougher time for them.

[pullquote]As you make plans to keep your family out of harm’s way, we hope that you will keep less fortunate families in your plans.[/pullquote] One clear way to do that is to use your voice where possible to influence local leaders to ensure there is food for students who rely on school meals for daily nutrition, and there is care for them when their parents are not able to take consecutive days off of work.

We’ve collected some actions you can take. If you have other suggestions for how we can support children and families during this time, please add them to the comments at the bottom.

  • Meals on Wheels America delivers nutritious meals, friendly visits and safety checks to seniors so that no one is left hungry or isolated. You can make a donation or see if there are opportunities for you to (safely) volunteer to make an impact in your community.
  • Save the Children has set up a Coronavirus Response Fund to reach children in coronavirus-affected areas and other countries at great risk. Your donations will help keep children healthy and safe, train health workers worldwide, and supply the protective equipment and other supplies frontline health staff desperately need. 
  • RIP Medical Debt will take your monetary donations and eradicate the medical debt of those most in need. This helps people who are uninsured or inadequately insured to get the medical assistance they need sooner rather than later.
  • The Red Cross is in urgent need of blood, platelet or plasma donations to avoid shortages as they respond to the coronavirus outbreak. Donating blood is a safe process and you should not hesitate to give or receive blood (while paying careful attention to social distancing recommendations).

We believe the power of activism changes the world, and during this time it could potentially save lives. 


Chris Stewart and the brightbeam team

Chris Stewart

An award-winning writer, speaker, and blogger, Chris Stewart is a relentless advocate for children and families. Based in outstate Minnesota, Chris is CEO of brightbeam, a nonprofit media group that runs campaigns to highlight policies and practices that support thriving kids. He was the founding Director of the African American Leadership Forum, was an elected member of the Minneapolis Board of Education, and founded and served as the CEO of Wayfinder Foundation. Above all, Chris is a serial parent, a Minecraft enthusiast, and an epic firestarter on Twitter where he has antagonized the best of them on the political left and right. You’ll often see Chris blogging at citizenstewart.com and “tweeting” under the name “Citizen Stewart.”

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