COVID-19, Social Justice Crisis, Care, and Community

Dear Friends,

So many things have changed in so little time. Since March, we have had to completely adapt our day-to-day lives, the way we interact with our families and friends, the way we work, teach, and learn, the way we move through the city, etc. CUNY students, administrative workers, and professors have been particularly affected by the crisis.

Since June and the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery by the police, we have also worked to find new ways of building community, supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, and building collective consciousness to fight back against systemic racism and oppressions.

The Futures Initiative has found ways to accompany and support the CUNY community through the crisis. Our activities will remain remote in the months ahead, but we have adapted to the current challenges. We want our program to reflect our acknowledgement that the circumstances are not normal, that it should not be “business as usual.” Our virtual activities are developed to help our community cope and adapt, to avoid the feeling of burnout and isolation so many of us have experienced at some point in the last months. We hope you will join us, participate, and share your resources, ideas, and strategies.

Program Updates

We will not hold any in-person events until further notice. You can find the calendar of our events here.

– Our spring conference, Graduate Education at Work in the World, will be held virtually during spring 2021, tentatively Feb 18-19. More information will be announced soon.

– HASTAC Scholars Digital Fridays will return in the weeks ahead. The program is currently receiving applications for the 2020–21 cohort of scholars. More information here.

On Care, Community, and Anti-Racism

The effects of this health crisis are not evenly distributed, and as the first wave is now behind us, the consequences of many months of quarantine, health crisis, and economic crisis are hitting NYC strongly. Structural inequality in health care, housing, wealth/income, education, and many other areas have proven to increase inequalities through the crisis. Systemic racism has not only been a determinant factor regarding the impact of the crisis, it is at the heart of the movement of protest and mobilizations for Black Lives Matter and structural change that has been organized by communities throughout the country and the world.

As our first response to the crisis was aiming at understanding the new pandemic and organizing networks of care and solidarity, we feel that now more than ever we have to become more creative and committed to fighting structural racism, as well inequalities based on gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or any difference.

The Futures Initiative team is unique not only because of its work within the CUNY community, but also because of the sense of care and deep empathy that we share toward each other. We would like to suggest a few resources that we have been using:

Remote teaching during COVID Resources

Black Lives Matter Resources

Above all, we hope you are all finding ways to take care of yourselves and your communities during this difficult time. This is a time of heightened stress. If you are experiencing anxiety, depression, or thoughts of self-harm, know that you are not alone. Resources like NYC Well are available 24/7 to support you. Call 1-888-NYC-Well (1-888-693-9355), or text WELL to 65173 for free, confidential mental health support.

This is an update of a previous post (read here).


The Futures Initiative
The Graduate Center, CUNY
365 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10016-4309