Transforming People and Communities
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Sunday, April 19th folks gathered for the VIA Virtual Convocation. It was heart-warming to connect with so many from across the state. We had folks on the call from 6 counties across the state!
During the call, VIA staff gave up dates on where we are at in the moment - both personally as well as a general overview of where the state and our communities are struggling. We then had a good amount of time to connect with 3 or 4 others in break out rooms about our own feelings and experiences. Then a time of sharing and brainstorming about what issues we should be working around and how our work is shifting to a more online model. You can watch the recording of our time or read the notes here.
Over the next few weeks, VIA staff will host virtual organizing meetings around 5 issues. The days and times of these meetings can be found on our events page. These issues are:
Call Vermont's resource line by dialing 2-1-1 with any questions about COVID-19 or general questions about help and services in Vermont.
Meals and Prescriptions:
Labor and Tax Assistance:
Faith in Action, the national network to which VIA belongs, has written an extensive and thorough letter to communicate to Congress what our families across the country need in the second CARES legislation, and especially what we need to achieve racial equity in the country's response.
The letter begins:
Dear Members of Congress:
As grassroots, faith-based organizations representing 500,000 families, we are hearing more and more stories of pain and grief, as people lose loved ones to COVID-19. The pandemic is reaching every corner of the country, while falling most heavily on Black people who are dying at extraordinarily high rates. People of color, immigrants, health care workers, and those who live in marginalized urban, rural and tribal communities are disproportionately struggling to survive and stay safe without jobs, income, and reliable access to health care. The virus is worsening already enormous problems of mass incarceration and deportation, and racial and class disparities in access to health and economic security. And we are seeing a vicious rise in racism and xenophobia against Asian Americans.
This public health and humanitarian crisis calls for bold and moral leadership from Congress to remedy the deep and systemic racial inequities in our country. To save lives and limit the damage to our society and economy, our response to this crisis must be both universal, providing protection, care and support to everyone, and targeted, focusing resources on people and communities most at-risk. To date, the federal response has exacerbated rather than alleviated racial inequality, putting all of our health and wellbeing at-risk. As Congress works on another large stimulus bill it must put racial equity front and center, target resources to those communities that are hardest hit, and embrace policies that provide health care, living wages, and a strong safety net to everyone. These specific and detailed recommendations for inclusion in CARES2 are starting place. (Read more)