Creation of a culturally responsive helpline for first responders and essential workers

The Community Cares Listening Line

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The Institute of the Black World 21st Century (IBW) announced that the Black Family Summit, which the organization convenes, has developed a culturally responsive helpline for first responders and essential workers. The Community Cares Listening Line will
provide emotional support and resource information in critical areas of need. This initiative seeks to address the impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic on African Americans and people of African descent.

Convened by Leonard Dunston, President Emeritus of the National Association of Black Social Workers and IBW Board Member, the Black Family Summit is comprised of twenty-nine socially-conscious Black professional and advocacy groups, including organizations that focus on the holistic health and welfare of Black families and communities. Members of these “healing” organizations have applied their collective expertise to emergency response efforts within Black communities.

The Black community faces a multitude of disparities, and COVID-19 is no exception. It is known that first responders and essential workers are suffering, we continue to read and hear stories of the devastating, multi-faceted impact of this pandemic on their well-being. According to the Project Coordinator, Dr. L. Zakiya Newland, a social work educator, and practitioner, “The Community Cares Listening Line is grounded in a framework that recognizes; the healing value of community, the importance of listening with
empathy and the importance of instilling hope. Volunteer listeners are trained in this framework.

They will also provide information on resources to support the needs of the callers”. The line goes live on July 6, 2020. As stated by, Susan L. Taylor, Founder and CEO of National CARES Mentoring Movement and Editor-in-Chief Emerita, Essence Magazine, “It is a great blessing that the Community Cares Listening Line is being established. The COVID 19 virus has caused the chronic, debilitating impacts of impoverishment to become
evermore acute among the working poor, and the only recently acknowledged essential workers.

“Our communities must step up, linking arms and aims, and support the Black Family Summit’s effort in buttressing and remaking healthcare systems throughout the nation”.
Dr. Ron Daniels, IBW Founder, and President established the organization to be a progressive, African centered, action-oriented Resource Center dedicated to empowering people of African descent and marginalized communities. The Community Cares Listening Line has been fully endorsed by the New York City chapter of 100 Black Men; New York City, Westchester and Nassau-Suffolk chapters of the National Association of Black Social Workers; the New York City and New Jersey chapters of the Association of Black
Psychologists; Caribbean American Social Workers Association; Nigerian Social Workers Association and several member organizations affiliated with IBW’s Pan-African Unity Dialogue.

The Community Cares Listening Line is funded by a grant from Casey Family Programs.