City Council Work Session - AMENDED

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Meeting Date: 06/08/2021  
From: Rose Toehe, Coordinator for Indigenous Initiatives

Honoring Community Member, Mr. Darrell Marks, for national recognition from the John F. Kennedy 2021 Profile in Courage Award (COVID Courage).

Darrell R. Marks, an Indigenous Dine' (Navajo) and the Native American Academic Advisor for Flagstaff High School, advocates for the rights and works to meet the unmet needs of the Navajo and Hopi tribal communities. Marks, a single parent raising two teenage sons, has coordinated deliveries of food and supplies to Navajo and Hopi families struggling during the pandemic; advocated for voting rights in the face of efforts to disenfranchise Native Americans; worked to provide access to remote learning opportunities in tribal areas made even more isolated by COVID-19; and served as a personal counselor and resource to students struggling with loss and depression.

"Darrell R. Marks is a man who has utilized his faith and traditional Navajo values and his relationships with students, families, and communities to serve with heroism throughout this Pandemic. He has helped screen and assess to know when students needed increased emotional support, and when Elders and families who were in a lock-down status on the Navajo and Hopi Nation lands to prevent the spread of COVID, he helped organize and direct the response of emergency food and supplies. And Mr. Marks, even while experiencing his own family losses during this Pandemic, has assisted in advocating, and supporting students with the traditional grieving ceremonies and with sharing knowledge with the school to increase understanding and support of these students." - Joan P. Dewey, LCSW, Student Support Services, School Social Worker. 

Background: At the outset of the pandemic, Ambassador Caroline Kennedy and her son, Jack Schlossberg, wanted to find a way to honor those on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic that were going above and beyond their everyday responsibilities to help those in their communities.

After a public nomination campaign, thousands of people from across the country submitted COVID Courage nominations, sharing moving stories about the commitment and sacrifice of members of their communities who put their own health at risk to help heal the sick, protect our most vulnerable, and provide critical support services.
Seven honorees were selected and they represent the courage and national sacrifice that had been witnessed in so many aspects of American life.


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