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Emotional Support Helpline Announced

For First Responders & Essential Workers

Millions of people have been touched by the COVID-19 pandemic that continues to ravage the world; however, no one has been more overwhelmed than first responders and essential workers. But, who takes care of them while they are helping others?  The Institute of the Black World 21st Century (IBW) through its Black Family Summit (BFS) initiative created the Community Cares Listening Line, a free helpline to provide emotional support and resource information to first responders and essential workers who are African American and people of African descent in New York and New Jersey.

Members of this vital workforce are urged to call (877) 719-1117 to speak with trained volunteers who are grounded in a framework that recognizes the healing value of community, the importance of listening with empathy and the importance of instilling hope. Funded by a grant from Casey Family Programs, the confidential helpline is available daily from 8:00 am – 11:00 pm. 

Leonard Dunston, convener of the Black Family Summit, President Emeritus of the National Association of Black Social Workers and IBW Board Member, said, “The Black community faces a multitude of disparities, and COVID-19 is no exception.  It is known that first responders and essential workers are suffering, and news reports continue to recount the devastating, multi-faceted impact of this pandemic on their well-being. We are pleased that we are able to offer this free, much-needed assistance to these important members of our society.”

For more information, please view the Listening Line video at or visit

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