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Veatch grantees are continuing to respond to the coronavirus crisis — one that is disproportionately impacting their own memberships — with resolve, action and love.

If there is anything this crisis has made clear, it's this: the issues Veatch grantees work on — ensuring all those who need health care can get it; providing workers with paid time off to care for themselves or a loved one; protecting access to essential services for immigrants and their children — are needed now more than ever before. This past week, we heard from Veatch grantees who are serving members in new ways while, at the same time, fighting to make sure the historic $2 trillion stimulus package passed by Congress met the needs of everyday people, and not corporations. 

And even though the members, leaders and staff of Veatch grantees are distanced from one another, physically, they are finding ways to organize, virtually, to continue their important work. These days, updates from our nearly 200 grantee organizations come almost hourly, and they remind us that we are stronger together. They are among the many heroes of this time that give us hope — the harder the challenge, the harder they work to make a better world for us all.

Joan Minieri
Executive Director

From left to right: Carol Garbarino, Chair; Joan Minieri, Executive Director; Corinne Hayden, Vice Chair   

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Make the Road NY— Ensuring the Stimulus Benefits Those Who Need It. 

Last week, Veatch grantee Make the Road-NY — a community organizing group advocating for low-income workers and immigrants across New York City — held a phone briefing to update allies on the organization's response to COVID-19. The group has worked tirelessly since the crisis began to make sure the government's response placed the needs of working people over those of big corporations and billionaires. Along with advocates across the country, Make the Road-NY used the opportunity to strengthen unemployment insurance and beat back some of the worst proposals from fiscal conservatives that would have amounted to a gigantic corporate giveaway with zero accountability. 

Additionally, Make the Road-NY is setting an example for how to shift in-person organizing work to the virtual realm for the next few months. For example, Make the Road-NY has not let "shelter in place" orders prevent its work to increase participation in the 2020 Census — which has far-reaching implications for political representation, federal funding for schools, hospitals, and more. In place of face-to-face contact, the group has turned to phone banks, robocalls, mass texts, social media and other tools to reach community members on this issue. They expect to reach 250,000 New Yorkers with these efforts. Check out their website for regular updates on how the group is ensuring their work will continue in the uncertain weeks and months ahead. 

Gamaliel Network — Action Plan to Protect People in Jails and Prisons

Last week, the Gamaliel Network — a network of 44 affiliates across 17 states that brings together a diversity of faith and community leaders to advocate for social change — held a Decarceration Virtual Rally to continue its campaign for reforms in the nation's criminal justice system. During the online demonstration, Rev. Dr. Cornell William Brooks, Professor of the Practice of Public Leadership and Social Justice at Harvard, issued a powerful call to action to protect vulnerable people in our jails, prisons, and detention centers from the spread of the coronavirus. He lifted up a series of steps, developed by the Gamaliel Transformational Justice Team, that need to be taken within the next week in order to protect all of our people from the spread of the coronavirus — including the immediate release of all parole-eligible persons, as well as those scheduled to be released within the next 6 months. 

To help support this Veatch grantee's campaign, call the Capitol Switchboard phone number at (202) 224-3121 or (888) 352-3520 and ask for your Member’s office, and then share the action plan included on the Gamaliel Statement on Decarceration.

Right to the City — National Campaign to Suspend Rents and Mortgages 

Following the success of Veatch grantees and other advocates in places in New York, who successfully achieved a temporary suspension on evictions and mortgage payments, the Right to the City Alliance — a national network fighting the gentrification and displacement of low-income communities of color — is calling for such policies to be extended nationally. The group is working with other national housing advocates — including the Alliance for Housing Justice's Grassroots, Partnership for Working Families, People’s Action, and the Center for Popular Democracy — on achieving a Housing Justice Platform amid the coronavirus crisis. 

Movement for Black Lives — COVID-19 Response for Black People

The Movement for Black Lives (M4BL) — a Veatch grantee working to organize Black political power across the country — launched a new website this week, which includes a new fund for those impacted by the coronavirus crisis. The group also created a national policy platform in response to COVID-19, which includes demands like creating a universal basic income for workers and a permanent paid sick leave program. Check out their COVID-19 resources here

Community Change — Launches Free Digital Organizing Toolkit

Veatch grantee Community Change — a national organization working to build power for those most marginalized by injustice — is working to help community organizers adjust to doing their work in the digital space. As they wrote in a recent newsletter, "We know that organizing is all about relationships, so necessary changes like physical distancing are pushing us to use digital and other channels of communication in creative ways." To help organizers adapt to these new conditions, the group created a free Digital Organizing Toolkit for relational organizing, organizing online, and remote team building. 
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