May 10, 2023

A Love Letter to Community in the New Era of COVID

Oregon’s COVID-19 emergency declaration was withdrawn April 1, 2023. The federal public health emergency (PHE) is set to expire May 11, 2023. As a result, we know additional changes are coming to the resources and programs made available in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is what you need to know. This is what this new era of the COVID means to us. This is our love letter to our community.

We know this has been a tumultuous, unprecedented time. And with changes at the federal level, we’re already seeing the sunsetting of programs and policies that bolstered the economy and reduced poverty at historic levels, like the end of pandemic-era tenant protections in 2022 and additional emergency Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) support in February 2023.

As of March 31, 2023, the continuous enrollment provision for Medicaid enrollees also came to an end. Folks may find themselves disenrolled and/or experiencing a gap in healthcare coverage while they transition to other coverage. Between now and January 2024, OHP members will receive a renewal notice informing them of their eligibility status.

Regardless of what’s to come, we thank you—our communities—for showing up in care and solidarity, and for continuing to do so. We want to thank you for making Oregon’s COVID-19 vaccination rate one of highest in the nation. That required the efforts of each and every one of us, and you all showed up.

Many of you dispelled vaccine myths among your parents and our children. Many of you brought food to your loved ones when they were ill. Hundreds of you showed up to the dozens of Resilience Series gatherings that emerged in 2020 to convene as a digital community. (And the series is now being led by community!) We all learned new ways of asking for help—and offering it. Though the emergency declarations may be going away, COVID-19 continues to be a community concern. Despite the formal changes, our collective care practices won’t stop.

The reality is: care and solidarity come from harm and trauma. Remember when Pasifika communities in Oregon faced the highest disproportionate rates of COVID-19? Can you believe there was a time when people stopped frequenting Jade District businesses because they thought that Chinese people spread COVID-19? Asian communities became the targets of racist attacks. The #StopAsianHate movement amplified the call to expose and dismantle decades of institutionalized racism. We lost too many to COVID, hate crimes, and shootings. There is an underreported and growing number of people with Long COVID. For many of us, our mental health will never be the same. If the pandemic has taught us one thing, grief has lingered long past 2020, and that same grief can be the reason why we reach out and why we fight for one another.

The fact is: we’re still here. We’re still committed to doing our part to ensure free and accessible healthcare for all Oregonians. Which is why we are pushing forward this legislative session, advocating for concrete policies that make it possible for us to provide for our families. (See: childcare, healthcare, education, and more.) And many aspects of our programs are making the transition to in-person activities (while still being COVID conscious!) so we can connect again.

We’re still here.

You’ve heard this before, but we’ll say it again: we take care of us. Stay home when you’re feeling sick. Keep wearing a high-quality mask if you need or choose to. Stay up to date on recommended vaccinations. Lean on each other when you need support.

Below is a list of resources and information on how to navigate the gaps in food security and healthcare, and unemployment. In the words of Grace Lee Boggs, “the only way to survive is to take care of one another.” We’re humbled to take on this immensurate task alongside each and every one of you.

With care,



Find more information about what changes to expect in Oregon’s health and food benefits here.

Stay updated on vaccine information from OHA and the CDC.

Find free food through the Oregon Food Bank Network or Asian Food Pantry. Find an Oregon or Clark County, WA location near you.

Get free or low-cost legal aid from Oregon Law Help.

Access renters resources from Community Alliance of Tenants.

Change happens from the bottom up. Get to the ballot box and vote on May 16 for Oregon’s Special District Elections. If you live in Multnomah County or Washington County, we invite you to join us in voting for the leaders and ballots that we believe will invest in our communities for the long run.

What is social change without our artists? Join our AMP listserv, and get connected with other BIPOC creatives in Oregon. Email our Cultural Work Manager, Grace Kwon at to join.

Sign up for our email alerts. We’ll let you know when there’s an opportunity to talk to our elected officials, to learn more about the legislative process, and more.

This programming message brought to you by APANO Communities United Fund, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.