• Ibrahim Insights

Sticking Together, 6 Feet Apart: COVID Relief Project

By Joshua "Yoni" Nirenberg, Long Island University



Our plan was to have a 3-part series discussing the impact COVID-19 had on various

communities in New York City. Each part of our series consisted of a lecture-based educational part and a call-to-action part afterwards.


Our goal was to target students from the Nursing and Pharmacy schools since they were

already motivated to contribute to the community. In addition, we wanted to create a space for students to learn about each other's community-specific issues prior to them entering the

professional realm and dealing with actual patients. And lastly, we believed that the students

that participated in this series gained a deeper insight into the effect COVID-19 had, and also

how resilient communities became when we worked together.


Part 1: For our first lecture, the Jewish Leadership Association partnered with the Muslim

Students Association, and the College of Health Sciences to invite Dr. Sarah Rush Griffin, MPH, Ph.D., and Rabbi Josh Tabi to discuss the effect COVID-19 had on the Jewish and Muslim communities. Participants in attendance consisted of Pharmacy and MPH graduate students, and there were 95 students who remained for the Q&A session that followed. Our call-to-action enabled students to prepare 250 cold and flu relief bags that were ultimately given to students on college campuses (LIU-Brooklyn & LIU-Post) from our shared cultural backgrounds in an effort to bridge the gap between cultures. Each bag included the message “COVID doesn’t differentiate between religions. Neither should we.”


Part 2: For our second lecture, the Jewish Leadership Association partnered with the Muslim

Students Association, Student Government Association, and the College of Nursing to invite Dr. Vibhuti Arya, PharmD, MPH. Dr. Arya is a racial-dialogue expert who discussed the student's role in regard to fighting systemic racism and promoting health equity. We had over 350 students in attendance via Zoom, which required us to open up a separate Zoom link for

participants. Our call-to-action enabled students to prepare 175 COVID sanitary to-go bags that were distributed to our local homeless and elderly population.


Part 3: For our third lecture, the Jewish Leadership Association partnered with the Muslim

Students Association and the School of Business to invite Dr. Herbert Sherman Ph.D., to

discuss the economic effect the pandemic had on underserved communities in New York, the U.S. economy, and other EU member states. There were over 75 students in attendance for this discussion, and students were empowered to create 200 healthy snack bags to be distributed to pediatric cancer patients (Chai Lifeline) and underserved children in the Muslim community.


We are greatly appreciative for the grant that we received from the Ibrahim Program and

donors. This grant enabled us to have an impact that ultimately led to:

1. 250 cold and flu bags distributed to college students

2. 175 COVID sanitary to-go bags distributed to our local homeless and elderly population

3. 200 snack bags distributed to pediatric cancer patients and underserved children

4. A new partnership between the Jewish Leadership Association and the Muslim Students

Association

5. A forum for students to discuss racial inequality and ways to promote health equity.


We hope to continue our partnership with the respective colleges and student organizations

listed above in our Fall 2021 campaign. We plan on expanding our reach by partnering with new organizations and community leaders in the hope of bridging the gap between the Jewish and Muslim communities, and to have a space to discuss the hardships and equality they respectively face. As we look for future partnership opportunities, please reach out to Yoni Nirenberg at yoni.nirenberg@gmail.com.

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