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51% #1605: Mourning America; Military Families Face Financial Struggles During COVID-19

On this week’s 51%, a woman helps create a web site to mourn loved ones in a time of social distancing; hear how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting families financially, from a hair salon owner to military families; and Dr. Jeri Burns reflects on an unintended positive impact of the pandemic.

When you type in MourningAmerica.org, you, a page comes up with hundreds of circles: some with photos, some just solid red with names in white, and some marked with the medical emblem signifying healthcare workers — all who died during the coronavirus pandemic. The website aims to ensure they are more than a number.

Drs. Rebecca Heiss and Dermot Jevens, a South Carolina-based couple, wanted to give Americans a way to mourn loved ones in a time of social distancing, stay-at-home orders and when public and private gatherings are being restricted. 51%’s Elizabeth Hill spoke with Heiss, an evolutionary behaviorist, about the site and more.

Le'Shawna Brunson-Smith says the $1,200 federal stimulus check won't be much of a help making up for the income she's losing during the coronavirus. Brunson-Smith is the owner of Ladies Hair Design on Castle Street in Wilmington, North Carolina. Since Governor Roy Cooper ordered the shutdown at the end of March of hair salons (and gyms and theatres and more), she's been out of work.

This was broadcast from the Working Narratives studio as part of a series that compiles community stories about COVID-19 from coastal North Carolina. 

Other families also are struggling financially because of the coronavirus pandemic. Military families face challenges of their own. The pandemic has placed burdens on younger military families who were already struggling to make ends meet. From San Diego, Steve Walsh reports for the American Homefront Project.

This story was produced by the American Homefront Project, a public media collaboration that reports on American military life and veterans. Funding comes from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

And now writer Dr. Jeri Burns reflects on Passover during COVID-19.

Dr. Jeri Burns is a storyteller, writer and educator living in New York's Hudson Valley. You can find her at storycrafters.com. Burns also is an adjunct professor in the Department of Communication at the State University of New York at New Paltz. 

That’s our show for this week. Thanks to Tina Renick for production assistance. Our executive producer is Dr. Alan Chartock. Our theme music is Glow in the Dark by Kevin Bartlett. This show is a national production of Northeast Public Radio. If you’d like to hear this show again, sign up for our podcast, or visit the 51% archives on our web site at wamc.org. And follow us on Twitter @51PercentRadio

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