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Community fund making a big difference for African Nova Scotians hit hard by coronavirus fallout

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – After a difficult start, a fundraising effort to provide relief to African Nova Scotians hit hard by the coronavirus is back on track and distributing much needed cash to people in need.

Fundraising for the Black Lives Matter Solidarity Fund NS was going well, but GoFundMe was appallingly slow releasing the money to the organizers.

Those problems have now all been resolved. At this time almost $17,000 has been raised through mostly individual donations, and the fund administrators are distributing the money raised. But more is needed, says long time trade union and anti-racism activist Dr. Lynn Jones, one of the organizers behind the fund.

“The government gave people on social assistance a one-time $50,  that’s clearly not enough to meet their increased costs. There’s also all those people in the gig economy whose jobs have disappeared, or their partners are no longer working. There are artists who lost their venues. People who made a bit of extra money babysitting. All kinds of scenarios,” says Dr. Jones.  

People are asked to do a self assessment.  

There’s three questions we ask, right off the bat, says Dr. Jones. Are you Black? Are you from Nova Scotia? Are you in need, and what are those needs? 

“People tell us they need the money to buy food for their baby, to pay a bill, to pay for groceries or fuel. The really great thing is that people don’t have to jump through a whole lot of hoops,” Dr. Jones says.

At this time the fund is no longer accepting new applicants, but the organizers know they’re in it for the long haul, and applications will once again be accepted once current needs have been met.

Apart from Dr. Jones the community fund is administered by community organizers, activists, and educators Twila Grosse, El Jones, and Rachel Zellars.

$100 may not sound like a whole lot of money, but it can be huge for people in need. “People give out of love. I don’t know what else to call it. It’s a loving spirit that makes you give. What else can it be,” say Dr. Jones.

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