On March 30, 2023, Humanities New York hosted Merlin Chowkwanyun in conversation with Celina Su about public health and the experiences of the Covid-19 pandemic in New York City. Chowkwanyun, who is the Donald H. Gemson Assistant Professor of Sociomedical Sciences
Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, demonstrated how the pandemic impacted different parts of the city and its demographics, saying that the most surprising finding was that a person’s occupation was the most significant determinant of their susceptibility to Covid. Su, a professor of Pyschology at New York University, noted how the pandemic interfered with the ability to participate in our democratic society fully. The speakers both felt it was important to keep the experience of the pandemic in public memory, not only to remember the many people lost but also to ensure accountability for the future.
Following the conversation, Humanities New York launched a micro-grant for tax-exempt organizations anywhere in New York City to host a Community Conversation focused on exploring the human and political dimensions of public health policies and crises. Humanities New York will provide a toolkit for the Community Conversation, a grant of up to $1,000, and training for a facilitator. This micro-grant will help New York City-based organizations to bring together community members to participate in a facilitated discussion about public health, using a short reading as a prompt. Applications are now CLOSED.
This event and micro-grant are made possible by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.