Sign on to FL Community Demands around Coronavirus
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We are Facing a Pandemic.
The current coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is not just a public health emergency, it’s an economic crisis, and both will disproportionately impact the most vulnerable among us.
As COVID-19 continues to take its toll, we must protect our local communities as they confront and attempt to mitigate its impacts, especially healthcare workers and vulnerable populations. The response must center and support marginalized communities who are already feeling the devastating economic impact of this pandemic, especially workers who are earning low wages and are one paycheck away from crisis, including individuals with disabilities and other special needs. We are a cross section of grassroots organizations from across Florida, led by and rooted in these communities. We’ve weathered storms and natural disasters, and know all too well how our communities can be left out of preparation and recovery efforts. As we face this crisis together, we demand:
The Right to Safely Care for our Community
Our healthcare, home care workers, first responders, janitors, airport and port workers are at the frontline of this crisis and must be protected. We demand availability of personal protective equipment, especially for those providing care to infected individuals in a clinical or residential setting, and sufficient supply for hospitals and community health centers.
The abysmal rate of testing for COVID-19 in Florida is unacceptable and puts us all at greater risk. We demand access to tests and increased availability for at-risk communities, regardless of financial ability.
The Right to Paid Sick Leave
We demand paid sick days for all workers and measures to cover lost wages. No one should have to choose between self-quarantine and a paycheck their families depend on. All workers, including hourly, domestic workers, and farmworkers, should be paid for time missed due to the coronavirus. We demand the Governor suspend the Florida Statute that preempts mandatory paid sick leave, that the state legislature repeal it, and that local governments provide paid sick leave to their employees. We honor the sacrifices of workers that fuel our economy, and their employers and elected representatives should, too.
The Right to Healthcare
Healthcare is a human right. We urge the Florida legislature to immediately expand Medicaid to hundreds of thousands of hard working Floridians who deserve access to healthcare but are caught in the income gap. Costs associated with COVID-19 testing and treatment should be waived and must not place an economic burden on either the insured or the uninsured.
Immigrant families across Florida fearing deportation are deterred from seeking the healthcare they need, putting their lives and the health of our communities in danger. We demand the Governor suspend SB 168, so that public trust can be restored and first responders can prioritize health and safety. The federal government must suspend all deportations, as well as the Public Charge rule, and ICE should suspend immigration enforcement and reallocate those resources towards public health.
Moratoriums on Evictions, Foreclosures, and Utility Shut Offs
The ripple effects of this crisis will push renters and homeowners out of their homes if we don’t act. We demand that the Governor, state legislature and courts institute an immediate moratorium on evictions and foreclosures. Utility companies must halt shut offs of electrical, water and other vital utility services, such as phone, due to non-payment related to the outbreak. Additionally, local governments should create a rent relief fund to help impacted families and banks should provide mortgage payment relief.
A Plan for Vulnerable Populations
Resources, including any shelters, temporary hospitals and transportation, must be accessible at no cost to low-income and vulnerable communities. This can be achieved by ensuring equitable distribution of sites and transportation assistance. We also demand action to address the needs of:
Every school, regardless of the socio-economic status of the district, should have hand sanitizer at each major entrance/exit, soap and paper towels in each bathroom, and personal protective equipment readily available.Teachers and staff should not have to bear the financial burden of this outbreak. The state must provide compensation to teachers and district wide staff beyond current sick leave in the event of missed school days related to COVID-19. The state should also prioritize hiring school nurses and additional custodial staff for every school. If schools are closed, local governments must create meal delivery plans to ensure children do not go hungry and provide childcare for essential workers.
Colleges and Universities
Students being sent home are losing access to meal plans, housing, and other necessities. Emergency stipends and support services should be provided to ensure a safety net follows them into their home communities. Colleges and universities must take the well being and safety of at risk students into consideration, especially those from historically marginalized and low-income communities that depend on meal plans and work study programs.
Immigrant Detainees and Incarcerated People
In our jails and detention centers, there are thousands of individuals who are at heightened risk because of their close quarters and lack of access to healthcare and cleaning supplies. We demand immediate steps to reduce jail populations, such as ending cash bail and pre-trial detention, and provide access to testing and high-quality healthcare to mitigate the risks of COVID-19’s spread. With visitation put on hold in Florida’s prisons and jails as a result of COVID-19, phone calls and video visitation should be made free of charge immediately.
Homeless Families and Individuals
Our homeless populations cannot be left out of the plans for community care. Shelter and rapid rehousing capacity should be increased so that those without housing have a place to safely quarantine, if needed.
Resources, public education, and multilingual outreach must prioritize the elderly in vulnerable communities and combat the effects of isolation with community mapping and support.
The Right to Vote
As we move through another important election year, we cannot let this outbreak stop us from participating in our democracy. We demand automatic voter registration and that every voter be mailed a vote by mail ballot. The failed signature no-match policy should be dropped to encourage trust and participation in the vote by mail system.
Support for Small Businesses
Creation of a small business relief fund, including public funding to support paid sick leave for employees, and widespread promotion of the program in multiple languages.
The Right to Information
State, local and federal officials must provide residents with local hotlines for symptom reporting and monitoring. These local reporting mechanisms, and all communications about the crisis, must be available in Spanish, Haitian Creole and English. We expect aggressive, accessible, and multilingual public education, and transparency on COVID-19.
A Seat at the Table
As we have learned time and time again, when low-income communities of color don’t have a seat at the table as decisions are being made, our concerns are ignored and left out of policy agendas and long-term plans for recovery. As government officials design programs and allocate funding to support communities during this time, space must be created to listen to and act on the needs of those of us who disproportionately bear the brunt of the crisis because our housing, infrastructure and economic stability have already been in an extreme state of precarity, disrepair and neglect since before the pandemic.
New Florida Majority
Community Justice Project
Common Ground Project
Family Action Network Movement
Florida Immigrant Coalition
Florida Student Power Network
Florida Voices for Health
Forward Florida Action
Grassroots Global Justice
Jobs With Justice
Miami Climate Alliance
National Day Labor Organizing Network
Opportunity for All Floridians
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