News & Views

Love in the Time of COVID-19

The words in the title of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s famous novel, “Love in the Time of Cholera”, couldn’t be more apt to describe our current situation – even if his story does not.

HIAS Pennsylvania, at its core, is all about love. For 138 years – through Jewish pogroms, world wars, famines, global disasters, and conservative and liberal governments – we have asked for love, received love, shared love whenever and wherever we could. For the last three years, our clients have been under relentless attack, but through it all we have received unprecedented support. That love coming back to us has allowed us to rise to the challenges brought by a federal government who is not only against our clients, but against everything that we believe this country is.

Today, however, a new and deeper challenge faces us. A global pandemic is not something that our staff and Board members have had to face within our lifetimes. Our agency was 36 years old when the Spanish Influenza of 1918 shut down Philadelphia. We survived then and we will survive now. But we cannot do it alone.

In this post, we share with you the steps we are taking to keep our staff, clients and supporters safe while continuing to provide our services. We are also sharing with you the ways that you can continue to advocate remotely on behalf of immigrants and refugees who need us now more than ever before. And, ultimately, we will ask for your financial support.

But we want to emphasize here and now that we understand what this last ask means. The economy is spiraling downward, lay-offs have already occurred, little commerce is happening as people stay hunkered down in their homes, and businesses shutter to prevent the spread of this virus. Each company – whether for profit or nonprofit – each family, each individual, has to figure out how they are going to keep things running. How will bills get paid, food be kept on the table, health insurance stay in place?

We understand this. But as each of us makes decisions to tighten our belts, forego what we can, and focus only on what is necessary, try to think strategically. Think about ways your support can continue, even if in smaller ways than before. Think about burden-sharing instead of burden-carryingIf we find ways to support one another today, we’ll get back on our feet sooner tomorrow. History has shown us that.

So, in this time of COVID-19, show your love. I guarantee that you, your family, your neighborhood, and your business won’t regret it.