The Southwest Stories Collection within The Journal of a Plague Year seeks to highlight and preserve stories about life under the pandemic in the Southwest, especially for vulnerable individuals and communities who have, in many ways, been most impacted by the virus.  

All are welcome to contribute.  We are interested to hear how our communities- individuals and organizations alike- are coping and faring during this pandemic. We encourage anyone from the Southwest region to share their stories- photos, blog posts, emails, journals- anything materials related to the effect of the pandemic on our communities. 

ASU/Luce COVID-19 Rapid Relief project

The Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict has partnered with  the Henry Luce Foundation to advance the ASU/Luce COVID-19 Rapid Relief project. Under the direction of John Carlson and Tracy Fessenden, the project is awarding grants to nonprofit organizations that provide direct COVID-19 relief to vulnerable individuals, families, and communities in Arizona.

Grant funding is designed to complement and expand the capacity of regional nonprofit organizations that are focused on providing direct support to marginalized communities, including:

The project also chronicles “Southwest Stories” to raise public awareness about the challenges faced by marginalized groups and the relief organizations that serve them. These stories will report on the impact the pandemic has had on Native Americans, migrants, agricultural workers, and others whose stories aren’t often told in the press. The collection was created in partnership between Arizona State University's Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict, the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and the Journal of the Plague Year (hosted by the School of Historical, Philosophical & Religious Studies) to house the work of the students and journalists who lost employment due to the pandemic.  The stories and items included in this collection represent the specific communities aided through the Luce Foundation Grant and the ACRS, as well as others with ties to the Southwest United States and its various communities. 

Read about the ASU/Luce Covid-19 Rapid Relief Fund here

The Henry Luce Foundation

The Henry Luce Foundation seeks to enrich public discourse by promoting innovative scholarship, cultivating new leaders, and fostering international understanding.

The Foundation advances its mission through grantmaking and leadership programs in the fields of Asia, higher education, religion and theology, art, and public policy.

In response to the CoVid-19 pandemic, the Foundation’s Board has authorized the President to approve the reallocation of grant monies in cases in which grant recipients experience serious adverse effects as a result of the pandemic. In addition, the Board has authorized the awarding of up to $5 million in new urgent-needs grants in support of long-time partners, or communities and sectors, that are suffering from the pandemic or efforts to control it. Such grants—up to $250,000 each—will be awarded on an as-needed basis, outside of the regular grants calendar.

In April, the Foundation awarded 23 emergency grants totaling $3.1 million. Read the announcement.

In May, the Foundation awarded $1.8 million in additional emergency grants. Read the announcement.

The Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict

The Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict at Arizona State University advances multidisciplinary research and education on the religious dynamics of conflict and peace.

By fostering exchange and collaboration, the Center creates networks—local, national, and global—that expand knowledge, deepen understanding, and promote wiser, more effective responses to some of the world's most pressing challenges.

The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication

The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication is one of the nation’s top journalism schools and is home to Arizona PBS, the largest media outlet operated by a journalism school in the world. Students receive hands-on experiences in Cronkite News, a multiplatform daily news operation with bureaus in Phoenix, Washington and Los Angeles. With professional programs in digital media, public affairs reporting, broadcast news, digital innovation, public relations, sports reporting, Spanish-language news and more, Cronkite offers a real-world education for the digital media world of today and tomorrow.

The School of Transborder Studies

The School of Transborder Studies, the only one of its kind in the United States, promotes academic excellence and social change by developing cutting-edge interdisciplinary knowledge regarding the populations of the U.S.-Mexico transborder space and beyond. We effect social change by developing and nurturing integrated scholarship and teaching, leading to more successful and sustainable transborder communities. At the center of expertise and action, we make borders human.

Recent Stories

  • How the Pandemic Has Affected Refugees

    In this episode, we at the Podcast of the Plague Year were granted the opportunity to record interviews with two organizations assisting refugees that have been relocated to Arizona- RICE and Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest. Refugees are those who have been forced to flee their country because of a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, or political opinion. Almost 3 quarters of a million refugees have been resettled in the United States since 2008; they often come with very little resources to begin life anew once resettled. Life for refugees during resettlement comes with hope, but also with struggles to learn a new language, navigate new employment and educational systems and integrate into a new society. It is easy to imagine how a pandemic could intensify already existing struggles.
  • How Tribal Communities Have Dealt with the Pandemic

    A cursory look into A Journal of the Plague Year reveals that the pandemic is nondiscriminatory, all of are affected. Yet, the reality is that Covid-19 is having more impact on certain populations in American communities. Arizona State University's Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict partnered with the Henry Luce Foundation to provide rapid relief funding to marginalized communities in the southwest. As part of the rapid relief program, the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict is collaborating with A Journal of the Plague Year and the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication to raise awareness about the marginalized communities that were assisted via this grant. By joining this "Southwest Stories" project, we at the Podcast of the Plague Year were granted the opportunity to spotlight one Native American community in Arizona- the White Mountain Apache Tribe.
  • ‘They’re scared’: A look inside the COVID-19 crisis in Arizona prisons

    As COVID-19 began to spread across the Southwest in March, lawyers representing incarcerated Arizonans reported “unsanitary conditions,” “inadequate medical staffing and treatment” and a “failure to take strong and sensible precautionary measures” in state prisons. The combination left prisoners “highly vulnerable to outbreaks,” the attorneys wrote in a letter to the state before asking a federal judge to intervene. The judge did by issuing an order for officials to release more information, but prison advocates say it hasn’t been enough. Nearly four months later, complaints of insufficient safety measures and subpar medical care continue to plague Arizona prisons. At least 569 prisoners at 13 of the state’s 16 prison complexes had tested positive for COVID-19 as of July 15, according to the Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry, and at least 371 staffers have reported positive results. Justice reform advocates and others with ties to the correctional system worry the state is running out of time to prevent an even more dangerous surge in cases. COVID-19 can spread swiftly in crowded indoor spaces and among individuals with chronic health problems.
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