Staying connected during this time of COVID-19

Portia Espy - Executive Directory - William Winter Institute for Racial ReconciliationDear Friends of the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation,

We hope that you are taking care of yourselves, your families, friends, and community members as we all adapt to the uncertainties associated with the global pandemic that is COVID-19. The new “normal” associated with this threat has created a culture of elbow bumps, loads of hand washing/sanitizing, and, most importantly, social distancing.

While this may be the current reality, I want you to know that we’re not distancing ourselves from the important work we do on behalf of people across the many communities in and outside of Mississippi through Community & Capacity Building, Policy & Civic Engagement, and Youth Engagement.

In an effort to keep our families and our communities safe, we began working remotely on March 16th and will continue to do so until the current conditions improve. We are maintaining our regular work hours, and you can reach us by calling our office at 601.557.0056 or emailing us at Please know that we’ll be at the ready to assist you.

Public health experts tell us in order to slow the spread of COVID-19 we must avoid groups, limit proximity to other individuals, and curtail travel. We consider being “in community” and working with community members in-person a gift, and it’s the basis of our work, which makes social distancing especially difficult. Although this puts a damper on our normal activities, it is important that we all adhere to these recommendations if we are to keep one another safe.

On our part, for now we have postponed hosting or participating in convenings that do not conform with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations. Instead, we’re looking at ways to utilize technology in an effort to facilitate our mission of building bridges and ending discrimination based on difference.

Please know that we’re standing here with you and will do our part to help us weather this storm as a community. As is our experience, we can overcome almost any obstacle if we’re not afraid to work together. We’re looking forward to being in community with you now and always.

Kindest Regards,

Portia Ballard Espy
Executive Director, William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation

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