(903) 892-2020


This web page, “Mobilizing and Coming Together during the Coronavirus,” is to invite anyone from the larger community as well as  the members of the WISR learning community to join together in mutual support, discussion and sharing of information about the Coronavirus pandemic. It’s critical to STAY APART PHYSICALLY, WHILE ALSO FINDING WAYS TO COME TOGETHER SOCIALLY, EMOTIONALLY AND INTERPERSONALLY. I invite you to read my reflections on “The Immediate Tasks and the Bigger Picture in Addressing the Coronavirus Pandemic,” and then below you will find some potentially valuable readings and resources–

  • a variety of  thought-provoking readings as food for thought, as well as
  • some key informational resources (from the State, the CDC, local governments, UC Berkeley, and Oakland at Risk), and
  • some tips on keeping ourselves healthy and safe.

During this crisis, WISR is 100% operational–and completely online!–WISR faculty are more involved than ever, and we invite friends from beyond WISR to be involved with us, now and in the future. Everyone is invited to WISR’s online seminars, and for more information go to: https://www.wisr.edu/hot-news/

Seminar: Saturday, May 16th: 10:30 am to 12:30 pm.

Report from the Disastershock Global Volunteer Team on its Pandemic Stress Reduction Project.

This seminar is Part Two, WISR seminar series on the Coronavirus Pandemic—Immediate Tasks and the Bigger Picture.

This seminar will be led by WISR Chief Academic Officer, Dr. Brian Gerrard and several of his colleagues . . .

 (note 10:30 am PT start time): May 16, 2020 10:30 AM Pacific Time (US and Canada — Join Zoom Meeting  — https://us02web.zoom.us/j/196243617 —  Meeting ID: 196 243 617


Report from the Disastershock Global Volunteer Team on its Pandemic Stress Reduction Project

The Disastershock Global Volunteer Team consists of 70 members from 22 countries. This international team, formed in April, 2020, has as its mission translating the Amazon book Disastershock: How to Cope with the Emotional Stress of a Major Disaster into 20 different languages and providing them free to parents, educators and mental health professionals around the world. The team leaders: Brian Gerrard and Sue Linville Shaffer, together with the Chinese team leader – Ning Tang; the Spanish team leader – Damian Gallegos-Lemos; and the New York City team leader – Jacqueline Shinefield, will give a progress report on how their specific sub-teams are helping families to cope with the stress caused by the Covid 19 pandemic. Attendees will learn about the real-world challenges for making psychosocial interventions during a disaster.



WISR doctoral student and adjunct faculty member led a great seminar on May 2nd on Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies.   There will be follow up seminars in the coming months on this topic.  Leaders of that global network ( https://www.humiliationstudies.org/  ) Evelin Lindner, Linda Hartling (WISR faculty member also),  and David Yamada (WISR Board member and alumnus)  participated in the seminar, as did other network members, Justin Wilson, Coordinator of the Department of Aboriginal Studies, Langara College, Vancouver, B.C., Canada, and Navaraj Pudasini, Human Rights Attorney in Nepal.

“The Immediate Tasks and the Bigger Picture in Addressing the Coronavirus Pandemic”

—Message from WISR’s President, John Bilorusky

The Coronavirus has killed more people, by far, than the horrific act of terrorism, 911.  What hasn’t been discussed is that it is quite likely, even if not definitively proven, that our destruction of the environment is the act of terrorism that has given rise to this pandemic [1], not to mention the role of environmental destruction in leading to many other deaths every day. The destruction of the natural habits of many species is a likely cause of pandemics such as this one. Consider also the ways in which poor air quality impacts our ability to breathe, fracking pollutes groundwater, toxic industrial by-products create cancer, and the climate emergency creates droughts and other forms of extreme weather leading to forest fires, hurricanes, and more. Farmers in the Midwest are more prone to suicide as are other groups because of the deteriorating social and environmental conditions brought on by our destruction of the environment.

Some commentators—politicians, businessmen, and even academicians such as John Ioannidis at Stanford [2]—are urging caution about a possible “overreaction” to this pandemic and the economic and societal impact of continuing for “too long” the “stay at home” policies that are absolutely essential to saving lives. To be sure, we are inevitably heading into an economic depression. Unfortunately, those who advocate a rapid return to “business as usual” neglect to mention two things:  1) we need, if anything, a more unified commitment to doing everything in our power to preserve the health of each human being—especially on moral grounds and also because a massive loss of human life and the potentially disabling permanent lung damage for some of those recovering from a severe, life-threatening bout with Coronavirus—will have deeply damaging effects. The larger the impact on people’s health the  more massive and extended impact on the economy, and also on our already costly, inefficient, and inaccessible health care system, and on the trauma to our individual psyches and interpersonal networks, among other, persisting ill-effects. 2) environmental destruction must not only be stopped, but also reversed, partly to reduce dramatically some of the conditions that are likely to give rise to more frequently occurring pandemics, as well as other newly recurring natural disasters such as raging forest fires in the Western United States.

This pandemic should be a wake up call to not only mobilize ourselves to the immediate tasks before us—such as socially responsibly staying at home to the maximum extent possible, covering our faces when going out to prevent spreading the disease, and mobilizing support for homeless people, prisoners and others at high risk for becoming ill with the Coronavirus—but also to ask what do we need to do about “the bigger picture.” It will not be enough to breathe a sigh of relief and return to “business as usual” in another 12 to 18 months, when hopefully there will be an effective vaccine for the Coronavirus. The Coronavirus has made the most persuasive “campaign speech” possible that our country immediately must have: 1) Medicare for All; 2) A Green New Deal, and beyond any such set of policies, a united commitment by everyone to work to sustain rather than destroy our environment; and 3) Policies and practices to improve the lives of those most marginalized and whose economic well-being, health and dignity are most vulnerable, including addressing systemic inequality and racial, gender, and other forms of injustice [see also footnote 3 below].

You will find, below, after the three footnotes, some additional articles that may be good food for thought —regarding the disease itself and health issues, and about social, political, and economic perspectives relevant to these times.  Let us also reach out to one another, both to ask for help and to provide support. WISR will not only continue to be fully operational, educationally and administratively–using our online resources of Zoom, the Google Education Suite, our website, email and phone—we will be more active and engaged, to better support and educate not only our own learning community, but interested friends from beyond WISR who wish to be involved with us. 

    1.  Don’t Blame Bats or Pangolins. Human Actions Caused the Coronavirus  ;
      Coronaviruses Often Start in Animals — Here’s How Those Diseases Can Jump to Humans   ;
      Avenger Planet:  Is the COVID-19 Pandemic Mother Nature’s Response to Human Transgression?    ;
      It’s Wrong to Blame Bats for the Coronavirus Epidemic: Bats are a possible source of the coronavirus — but humans are to blame for the spread of the disease.      ;
      Why Coronavirus Is Humanity’s Wake-Up Call
    2. A fiasco in the making? As the coronavirus pandemic takes hold, we are making decisions without reliable data ;
      Stanford Professor: Data Indicates We’re Severely Overreacting To Coronavirus ;
      Coronavirus disease 2019: the harms of exaggerated information and non‐evidence‐based measures
    3. Covid-19 Shows America’s Class Divide Is Untenable   ;
      We Need to Talk About Privilege and the Coronavirus Pandemic  ;
      To Survive Systemic Failure Induced by COVID-19, We Need Mutual Aid ;
      The Coronavirus Class War Has Already Started: The combination of plutocratic bailouts and a physically endangered working class is sparking a new blue-collar militancy



From Yes! Magazine—share with others during the crisis; practice physical but NOT SOCIAL distancing, from editors of Yes! –“This is where we need your help: We’re counting on you to share how your community is coming together to build resilience, connection, and strength during the COVID-19 crisis. Bookmark this page for easy reference so you can continually share the essential examples and ideas of how we can come together to overcome the worst of this global pandemic.  Compassion During Coronavirus: How Is Your Community Responding to COVID-19?

In addition, a number of great articles from Yes! Magazine on helping communities and individuals to get through this crisis, and beyond the crisis to address systemic problems exposed by the crisis: https://www.yesmagazine.org/tag/covid-19/

From Teaching Tolerance (ongoing project of the Southern Poverty Law Center)—Read about ideas and resources and the link below.  From the editors of Teaching Tolerance: “educators requested resources they could easily share with students, be it online or in packets delivered during food drop-offs. More than 80 percent requested “Do Something” projects that could easily be adapted for distance learning. And half asked for articles about ensuring equity during a time of school closure, distance learning and racism directed at Asian American students. We also want to stress the range of specific needs educators brought up in this survey. Educators wanted recommendations for online resources and platforms. They wanted emotional support for students and educators alike. They wanted materials on the intersections of COVID-19 and social justice. Educators asked for best practices for distance learning. They asked for physical and printable resources for students without online access. They asked for information they could send families about basic necessities and resources for families trying to do their best to take on the role of educator in the household. Below, you will find links to resources that address these asks. Amid the calls for specific resources to help with learning, there was also an overwhelming need for hope, for reminders of our collective resilience, for ways to cope with the intersecting anxieties students and educators are facing. We aim to address these requests as best we can—and to call on the education community to help where we feel less equipped. Coming together begins with responding to what our community needs right now.”

Teaching Through Coronavirus: What Educators Need Right Now


From Humiliation to Dignity: For a Future of Global Solidarity–The Corona Pandemic as an Opportunity, 1st April 2020, Evelin Lindner, Medical Doctor, Psychologist, Dr. med., Dr. psychol. (WISR Colleague from Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies Global Network)

Blog post by Vice-Chairman of WISR’s Board and PhD alumnus, David Yamada, JD, PhD–Coronavirus: Timelines toward normalcy and choics for society

What Is “Public Health” and What Does It Mean for the Coronavirus and COVID-19?

12 things everyone needs to know about the coronavirus pandemic: How deadly is the coronavirus? How is it transmitted? And answers to more questions about the pandemic, explained.

11 questions about the coronavirus economic crisis you were too embarrassed to ask:  From how to think about the stock market to what to do if you lose your job, here’s what you need to know about coronavirus and the economy.

Why it can be so hard to tell if you have Covid-19: Symptoms of the novel coronavirus can vary a lot, if an infected person experiences them at all.

The Economist’s coverage of the coronavirus:  A selection of our stories about covid-19 and its consequences  

Exclusive: The Military Knew Years Ago That a Coronavirus Was Coming–The Pentagon warned the White House about a shortage of ventilators, face masks, and hospital beds in 2017—but the Trump administration did nothing.

When Confronting the Coronavirus, Federalism Is Part of the Problem–That some cities and states have stepped up to fill the gap left by Trump’s catastrophic failure is a matter of luck, not design. 

Covid-19: The history of pandemics


Valuable Resource on Dealing with Stress During a Major Disaster, Co-authored by WISR Faculty Member, and Chief Academic Officer, Brian Gerrard, PhD: Disastershock: How to Cope with the Stress of a Major Disaster provides explicit instructions on how to lower stress using 20 different practical techniques. The majority of these are cognitive-behavioral and evidence-based techniques known to reduce stress and reduce the effects of trauma. The manual is in 3 sections. Part 1 provides adults with techniques to lower stress. Part 2 is written for parents, teachers, and anyone working with children and contains techniques for helping children to lower their stress. Part 3 contains additional books, videos, and internet resources. Since 1989 Disastershock (now in its 4th edition and available as an ebook on Amazon and Apple iBook) has been distributed free to countries around the world where there have been disasters. A 40 person Disastershock Team from 10 countries is currently translating Disastershock into 15 languages for global distribution. Free copies of Disastershock may be downloaded from disastercopingresources.com. If you are willing to volunteer some time to assist us with helping our global family, please contact Brian (brian.gerrard@wisr.edu).


Breathing Exercises are not a cure, but might improve lung function if done before, or in some cases, during a bout with the Coronavirus

Highly Recommended Article on Safety Precautions when you have to be Outside, in Public!

From State of California

From the City of Berkeley

From Alameda County

From the CDC

Our World in Data: Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) – Statistics and Research

How to clean an N95 mask. BTW, Newsom just announced today that a state protocol is being developed to clean masks so that they can be used multiple times. Until that is produced.
Here’s an interesting and provocative lab experiment conducted by sports aerodynamic engineers who identified droplet movement patterns between walkers, runners and bicyclists. Bottom line, walk, run, bike in staggered patterns and hope there isn’t wind 

University of California, Berkeley Conversations: COVID-19 (live)
Across the UC Berkeley campus, researchers are rising to meet the complex challenges of COVID-19 even as the crisis generates waves of news and information that can be confusing and contradictory at times. In response, the university is launching a new online video series, “Berkeley Conversations: Covid-19”, to connect our leading experts with the public they serve, and each other. Through Q&A’s, seminars, and panel discussions, faculty from a wide range of disciplines—from epidemiology to economics to the computing and data now undergirding their work—will share what they know, and what they are learning.

Oakland at Risk   
Oakland At Risk wants to spread a message of hope and compassion by serving and loving our neighbors who are at risk of COVID-19. At risk? Sign up to get assistance. A healthy adult at low-risk?  Sign up to be matched with an elder or immunocompromised member of our community who could use your help over the next several weeks.

Shop safely, eat well

Safely bringing food in from shopping

Another informed view–focus on staying away from others and on hand washing!

Safe and Effective Cleaning Products to Avoid Coronavirus


All seminars are online by zoom, community friends welcome!  More detailed information, including list of MFT seminars, and  technology discussions at:  https://www.wisr.edu/hot-news/

Saturday, May 2nd, 10 am to Noon: HUMAN DIGNITY AND HUMILIATION DIALOGUE  join by zoom: https://zoom.us/j/259655949

Saturday, May 9, 10 am to Noon: Tele-therapy, Tele-education and working online in the time of COVID 19:  A WISR exploration in ethics, etiquette, self and other-care as we work online.   join by zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84368247475 

Saturday, May 16th: 10:30 am to 12:30 pm. NEW!  JUST ANNOUNCED! There will be another WISR seminar for mutual support, discussion, and idea- and information-sharing on the current crisis, and beyond-on Saturday, May 16th, 10:30 am: Topic: Coronavirus Seminar–Immediate Tasks and the Bigger Picture —  Time: May 16, 2020 10:30 AM Pacific Time (US and Canada — Join Zoom Meeting  — https://us02web.zoom.us/j/196243617 —  Meeting ID: 196 243 617

Saturday, May 23rd, 10am-1pm. PSYCHOPATHOLOGY AND DIAGNOSTIC PRINCIPLES VI.  Join by Zoom: https://zoom.us/j/192461465        

Saturday, May 30th, 10 am to 12:30 pm: PROFESSIONAL WELLBEING, A TURNING OF THE SOUL! join by zoom:  https://zoom.us/j/239196828 



–shared with others on the history of the Omaha tribe, including the many epidemics the Omaha people have faced over the years. Co-authors include WISR Doctoral alums, Dennis Hastings and Margery Coffey.

 The Umonhon People have experienced many pandemics since Europe invaded their lands. Today we are honoring this tradition of survival with the story of a re-markable tribal member: Josephine Erlin Barnaby von Felden, born and raised on the Reservation, was trained in Euro- American style as both a nurse and teacher. Since she spoke several Native as well as European languages, she was often called upon to be an interpreter for both meetings and letters.

Dennis Hastings, WISR PhD Alumnus, is the Founder and Director of the Omaha Tribal Historical Research Project, officially designated the cultural authority of the Omaha Tribe.

While teaching at a school at Standing Rock Reservation, news came that the reservation was hit with a major epidemic.

The European-like hospital, miles away, had no doctors or nurses to handle it, as they had all fled. So Josephine walked across the reservation to the hospital and took charge. She organized the traditional medicine people of Standing Rock and together they fought for three months to save the People, and end the epidemic.

This graphic novel about her life is being released by OTHRP for free as a (PDF) during the coronavirus pandemic. It is one of 15 books that OTHRP has created to bring back the culture. Click here to access the pdf.

Ewithe Wongithe: We are all related.

WISR PhD Alums, Dennis Hastings and Margery Coffey, are, with others, two of the co-authors of this book–to preserve the history and culture of the Omaha people, and to educate tribal members and others. Much of Dr. Hastings’ and Dr. Coffey’s work has grown out of their doctoral research at WISR, which culminated in their dissertation, Grandfather Remembers (referred to in the graphic novel just published). 



This web page may be updated occasionally, and for now, here is a message relayed by WISR Doctoral Alumnus, John Borst:

Loving Message for Mindfulness and Hope from the Earth–forwarded by WISR alumnus John Borst . . .

I recently came across a powerful poem/video on the corona virus, “#Listen.” Take a look. 3+ minutes with English subtitles. See https://www.filmsforaction.org/watch/a-letter-from-the-virus-listen/ The poem strikes me as having great truth value and a message we must heed.

And for another poem intended to calm anxieties related to the virus pandemic see An Anarchist Quaker’s Prayer to Soothe Anxiety  Pass the links on to others as you wish. Till later, have a great day!

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