KINŁANI, DINÉTAH, (FLAGSTAFF, ARIZONA) — Larry Mullen, Jr., Irish musician and co-founder of the rock group U2, has joined the wave of solidarity from Ireland for Indigenous Peoples disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 by donating $100,000 to the Navajo & Hopi Families COVID-19 Relief Fund (Relief Fund).
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In early May donations to the Relief Fund’s GoFundMe campaign spiked with contributions from Ireland. After reading news coverage of the crisis on the Navajo and Hopi reservations, many Irish felt compelled to reciprocate support from Indigenous Nations that dates back more than 170 years.
During Ireland’s Potato Famine of 1847, the Choctaw Nation raised $170 dollars (about $5,000 now) for starving Irish families. Today, with Mr. Mullen’s contribution, over 25,500 Irish donors have contributed over $870,000 to the Relief Fund and the Navajo and Hopi elders, immunocompromised, COVID-positive, and vulnerable families it serves.
Relief Fund founder Ethel Branch stated, “We feel real kinship with the Irish, who have a shared legacy of colonization, and we are truly grateful for Mr. Mullen’s donation and all donations that have come from our Irish brethren. Go raibh maith agat and ahéhee’! Someday we hope to repay you for these beautiful and meaningful acts of solidarity made during our time of great need.”
Mr. Mullen’s generous contribution will fund a week’s worth of deliveries of food and water to about 1000 Navajo and Hopi households with high risk, vulnerable, or COVID-positive family members. The Relief Fund seeks to provide each family with 2 weeks’ worth of food so they are able to stay home and avoid exposure for a meaningful period of time in an effort to flatten the curve for the Navajo Nation and the Hopi Tribe. The Navajo Nation is the U.S. jurisdiction with the most COVID-19 cases per capita, now exceeding New York and New Jersey.
The Relief Fund has mobilized a massive volunteer emergency effort to provide food and water distribution throughout the Navajo and Hopi Nations. The GoFundMe for the effort has now surpassed $4 million dollars and the Relief Fund volunteers have served over half of the Navajo Nation chapters including 6,400 households in almost 70 communities on the Navajo Nation and in 5 of the 12 Hopi Villages.
For more information on Navajo & Hopi Solidarity and for additional resources including volunteer & support request forms: www.navajohopisolidarity.org.