Saturday, November 8, 2014- For Immediate Release
What: Launch of new phone and web hotline for African immigrants experiencing harassment and discrimination due to Ebola stigma.
When: Monday, November 10, 2014, 11 a.m- 1 p.m.
Where: 381 Canal Place, Bronx, NY
Who: African community members and religious leaders
Responding to Wave of “Ebola Stigma”, African Organization Launches Hotline, Website to Track and Respond to Cases
A Bronx-based nonprofit organization for African immigrants will launch a new website and hotline for African immigrants who have been targeted for harassment, discrimination, or bullying related to Ebola fears. “We know this is happening, because we hear it from our members,” said Amaha Kassa, Executive Director of African Communities Together. “But until now, there have been few resources for African immigrants who are experiencing it.”
The website, www.africandefense.org, tracks reports of “Ebola stigma” across the country. Documented incidents include children being prevented from registering for school, workers being kept off the job after vacations, African businesses who have suffered economically, and two Bronx children attacked by classmates. In most cases, there was no evidence of any actual Ebola risk. Several cases concerned visits to parts of Africa thousands of miles from the area of the Ebola outbreak, or involved people who hadn’t visited Africa in years
African immigrants can share their own stories via the website. In the future, the organization plans to add health education about Ebola and legal information for community members who wish to file complaints.
“We sincerely hope that both the Ebola virus outbreak and the panic around Ebola subside quickly, and this resource stops being needed,” said Kassa. “But we are preparing ourselves and our communities for more of these incidents.”
On Monday, the group will invite members and visitors, including the imam of one of New York’s largest African mosques, to their offices to try out the site and learn about the resources available for African immigrants who have experienced Ebola-related discrimination.
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African Communities Together is a membership organization of African immigrants and their families. Our mission is to help African immigrants in the U.S. to integrate socially, advance economically, and engage civically.