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“We Keep Each Other Safe”: San Francisco Bay Area Community-Based Organizations Respond to Enduring Crises in the COVID-19 Era

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The COVID-19 pandemic revealed ways in which communities take care of themselves in deeply unequal times. Tracing a pandemic-year evolution of community-based organizations (CBOs) in the San Francisco Bay Area through twenty-seven semi-structured interviews with CBO staff, we argue that, through diverse approaches that we characterize as a politics of care, Bay Area CBOs are reshaping their work in ways that could address social and structural determinants of health inequities in the long term. Their approaches call for rethinking the crisis framework around public health challenges such as pandemics. Our research confirms that, rather than an exceptional, short-term challenge, the pandemic crisis is a product of a longer trajectory of structurally produced inequities endemic to racial capitalism.

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