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Virtual Chats Give Front-Line Workers and Marginalized a Voice During Crisis

A new online effort being led by a Minneapolis nonprofit aims to connect people feeling a lack of human connection during the pandemic. (Adobe Stock)
A new online effort being led by a Minneapolis nonprofit aims to connect people feeling a lack of human connection during the pandemic. (Adobe Stock)
May 1, 2020

MINNEAPOLIS - Not everyone can huddle up safely in their homes during the pandemic. Many Minnesotans are on the front lines or lack community support - but a new initiative aims to give them a voice.

Virtual chats called "Weather Together" are being spearheaded by Marnita Schroedl - CEO of Marnita's Table, a Minneapolis nonprofit that helps governments and businesses break through racial and class barriers.

Schroedl's organization hosts these online group face chats, which she says are about giving people on the margins a sense of human support during the crisis.

"People are feeling very left outside the ring of love, is how I describe it," says Schroedl. "And so Weather Together was about giving and receiving comfort, that we are not scared away from our mission to bring the community together in authentic connection."

Conversations are held Monday through Friday, with different themes each day. For example, Tuesdays are about expressing gratitude, while Wednesdays are about parenting in times of crisis.

It's free to join the chats, but signup is required to protect against anyone wanting to disrupt the events for whatever reason. More details can be found at marnitastable.org.

Schrodedl says it's not just about receiving or voicing support for one another. She says participants also can hear more about parts of the world where not everyone can protect themselves from the threat of COVID-19.

"Communities where people can't social distance, you know, they live in multi-generational families," says Schroedl. "And somebody in the family is having to go out and work, and you're bringing back the possibility for COVID into their families."

And her group encourages people to invite others who might feel isolated during the pandemic to join the discussions.

Mike Moen, Public News Service - MN