Share Culture, Not COVID
Updated: Jan 6
This fall, Tacoma Refugee Choir has been working on a project in partnership with Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department to create culturally-grounded public health messaging. We commissioned three original songs to be written and recorded and then created music videos with members of the Latinx, Pacific Islander, and African immigrant communities. These songs express important messages in a hopeful and upbeat way and we are proud of how each song speaks to the culture and specific concerns of these three communities.
You can check out the three videos here: We Will Overcome/Sizonqoba by Providence Kamana
La Salud Colectiva by Trío Guadalevín feat. Daniel Jesus French
Put It On/Ufimata by Tacoma Refugee Choir feat. Esera
These songs have led to powerful conversations in our community about health inequity and how we can keep our loved ones safe and healthy during this pandemic. In addition to creating the three videos, TRC distributed over 400 masks, held several special community events online plus our weekly gathering, and trained community members on how to use Zoom to engage in and host their own gatherings. This project has strengthened relationships and helped us understand better the needs and concerns of these communities.
According to TPCHD, COVID-19 harms some communities more than others. This is particularly true for the three communities that we chose to work with because of our existing relationships (the infection rate among the Pacific Islander community is currently three times higher than the white, non-Hispanic rate in Pierce County- a few months ago the rate was 4.8x higher). While Pacific Islanders and Latinx generally do not identify as refugees, they have been ardent supporters and are valued friends in our community. There are intersections in the issues faced by refugees, immigrants, and people of color in our community and we are committed to standing by our friends. Inequity and harm that affects one community affects us all.
While the pandemic requires us to physically distance from one another, we need each other more than ever. We hope you will find a way to reach out using your own unique gifts and help someone feel a little less alone this winter.