Colossians 1:17
“He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”

Take a deep breath – and remember how precious that is. 

Throughout history, artists of all kinds have taken the cue of crises to craft beauty – so the poets have been hard at work these last several weeks… what are we realizing about ourselves and each other right now? What are we remembering, about our shared humanity, our shared beauty, our shared fragility?

*To read the rest of today’s reflection by Rev. Luke Stevens-Royer of First Unitarian Universalist Church in Rochester, click here.

**As many Christians, Catholics, Universalists and others enter Holy Week, we encourage you to submit faith reflections on ISAIAH’s website.

Qu’ran 3:103
“And hold fast, all together, to the rope of Allah and be not divided among yourselves.”

This verse is for the society of believers, telling us to unite together and hold on fast to the rope of Allah. This serves as the connection between Allah and the human being. The Rope of Allah helps remove human beings from the depths of darkness and lowliness, to the heights of spiritual ascendency that affects our day to day lives. It lifts up the human being allowing us to rise and fulfill the potential within us. It is thus the means of escape and rescue. 

A significant word in this verse is jamī‘an – all together. The verse is a direction to combine efforts and move forward together. Islam seeks to unite people on the basis of thought, focus, and goals. There is strength in unity. There is also encouragement, fulfillment, joy and many other positive outcomes resulting from being a part of a solid group. 

In these turbulent times, let us remember that holding fast together – yes, even in physical distancing – allows us to move forward, creating the world where we can all thrive, not just survive.

Help for Child Care Providers and Legislative Update

The Minnesota Legislature passed a $330 million COVID-19 relief package before going on recess. Included in the bill was $30 million to help child care providers who’ve been hurt because of a significant drop in attendance. We thank our Governor and legislators for these emergency funds, but we’ll need more for our future together. Our resources need to continue to support childcare and families for 2020 AND beyond.
The legislature will be back in session on April 14. At that time, we expect they will address some of the funding gaps in the COVID-19 bill, such as rental assistance and assistance to hourly school workers, which have been brought to their attention by ISAIAH and other people of goodwill.

200+ Clergy, Gov. and Lt. Gov. on ISAIAH Clergy COVID-19 Response Call, Clergy to continue weekly calls

Governor Walz and Lt. Governor Flannagan joined more than 200 clergy and religious leaders on the call this past week.

Now, like never before, we need our faith leaders equipped and connected, so that we can faithfully and quickly lead in response to the growing needs of Minnesotans.

Because of the increased need for community support, good information and public leadership, the clergy team of ISAIAH has decided to hold a weekly COVID-19 response call on Thursdays from noon-1pm. All clergy, ministers, imams and religious institution leaders are encouraged to join us in these weekly virtual calls of connection and action.

MN Statewide COVID-19 Resources

Click the link below for a list of Minnesota COVID-19 resources compiled from the departments of: Administration, Corrections, Education, Employment and Economic Development, Health, Human Services, Labor and Industry, Management and Budget, Natural Resources, Public Safety (Driver & Vehicle Services, State Emergency Operations Center, Homeland Security), Revenue, Housing Finance Agency, and the Governor’s office, the Courts, the Attorney General’s office, the federal government (SBA and IRS), and others.

Cancel the Rent Campaign!

Governor Walz has declared a suspension of evictions and called for the restructuring of mortgages. This is a relief for many, but it is not enough. Rent debt is still accruing at this time, and eventually evictions will be filed again.
United Renters for Justice (Inquilinxs Unidxs por Justicia, or IX) is offering resources to support renters that will not be paying rent due to the effects of the COVID-19 crisis, and for those standing in solidarity with those not paying rent. Hundreds of Inquilinxs Unidxs por Justicia members have organized successful rent strikes in their communities and the resources are based on those experiences and not meant as legal advice.

A Message from Vivian Ihekoronye

(originally posted on Facebook)
Hope you are all safe and healthy in these trying times. Thought I’d connect with you all about the deep wrestling I’ve been doing during this COVID-19 crisis as an ISAIAH community organizer, person of faith, daughter of immigrants and a human being. Click her image to watch video.

BCCC Virtual Workshop

Barber & Beauty shops Creating Change in the Community had another powerful virtual workshop this week. Deputy Commissioner of DEED Hamse Warfa joined a whole new set of shop owners, barbers, and beauticians hungry and excited to receive information to move forward on their path for financial relief. Next steps were agreed to and good ideas surfaced on how we will continue to move forward as we face these times of uncertainty together.

ISAIAH 101 Orientation AND Open ‘Virtual’ Office Hours Offered!

ISAIAH has moved all meetings and ‘one to ones’ into the virtual world! We are now using a platform called Zoom for the majority of our meetings. We realize that some of our leaders may not feel comfortable using this new platform yet and we want to help you get confident! Likewise, ISAIAH 101 Orientation is being offered for those who are new to ISAIAH or have questions about what their role can be in the organization.
We are offering Open ‘Virtual’ Office Hours so that you can ask low tech questions and get some practice.
For more instructions on how to use Zoom or to pop into our open office hours for a quick tutorial or to ask questions, click below.

Black MN COVID-19 Response

Black Minnesotans came together to organize a response to the current public health crisis. The top items wanted to see addressed immediately are to:
1. Freeze Living Costs
2. Expand Healthcare
3. Humanize and Decarcerate Minnesota’s Incarcerated
To view the full list of solutions and participate in the call to action, visit their website.

Asian Community Response to COVID-19

The Asian American Organizing Project in Minnesota (AAOP) is asking for members of the Asian Community to fill out this survey to gauge responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and rising instances of anti-Asian discrimination.

The survey is intended to gauge the Asian community response to the COVID-19 pandemic, understand the resources and support needed, and document the growing anti-Asian discrimination and violence.

All information is confidential and will not be sold or distributed for profit. Information from this survey will be used to inform how Asian American Organizing Project (AAOP) and community partners will support our community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

ISAIAH is Renaming Our e-Newsletter!

We named our newsletter Prophetic Resistance four years ago. This was during a time when resistance to the evil and pain we were seeing wielded in our politics required a faithful, visionary opposition whose main objective was to resist the floods coming for us and our people.  

That vision is still required today, but because our work together, we are now in a place to boldly and creatively build the community and world we all deserve – black and white, rural and city, Muslim and Christian. We’ve made more possible. We have the opportunity to do more of that and we should have a newsletter name to reflect it. Help us choose it today!

Staying Connected While Physically Distancing

ISAIAH leaders, church and mosque members, barbers and beauticians, and childcare providers and parents have creative ways – and are looking for more ways – to connect with and care for one another while keeping ourselves and each other safe through physical distancing.
For example, Camphor Memorial United Methodist Church in St. Paul created a Connection Team who have divided up the church directory and are calling members once a week to check in on them, get them information about church resources and talk them through on how to virtually attend Sunday services, prayer and bible study.
In all times, but especially times of trials, we need to be abundant with one another. ISAIAH is creating a public document that will compile some of these ideas. Please add yours!

You have been called for such a time as this!
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