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PREVIEW: The Navajo Nation’s COVID-19 Battles

The Indigenous Navajo people in Arizona and surrounding areas in the US have been the hardest hit during the COVID-19 pandemic. During the first wave of the pandemic, the Navajo Nation reservation had the highest infection rate per capita in the country, higher than that of New York state.

I spoke with Alicia Martin a few months ago, a trained chef and community organizer that is helping lead relief efforts in her community, delivering water, food and other essentials to people including the elderly. Many areas on the reservation don’t have running water or electricity, compounding the struggles of a pandemic.

Below is a preview of our conversation. The full video and article will be up soon.

Alicia told me about the water issues, continued tourism to the area and local government failures (in border towns near the Navajo Nation reservation) during the pandemic.

“We compare it to the movie Jaws where they didn’t want to shut down the beach and more people got killed. It’s the same thing here,” says Alicia.

She also says to respect what their community has gone through and to acknowledge that COVID is real, “because what we’ve gone through is terrible.”

The Navajo Nation continues to be ravaged by COVID-19 and they need all the relief, support and importantly, understanding of the issues, during this time.

Alicia’s passion for her community and all the work that she does for the people are truly inspiring. I’m so fortunate to have met someone as kind, dedicated, selfless and compassionate as Alicia.

You can follow Alicia on Instagram @amartin2727 and also @ajoobahasin to learn more and donate to their relief efforts.

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