Reverend Alvin Herring
Sisters and Brothers: Today we must face together this new reality: our country and the world is experiencing a pandemic, a public health emergency like no other we have faced in our lifetimes.
While we would like to believe the Trump Administration’s pronouncements that they have the crisis well in hand, the plain truth is that we have wasted precious time and are ill-prepared to face the challenges now and in the days, weeks and months ahead.
As we do everything we can as individuals to protect ourselves and our loved ones, we must do more as a country to SLOW the spread of coronavirus in our communities, knowing its potential to overwhelm our hospitals and cause tens of thousands of needless deaths.
The good news is that we know how to save lives. That begins by first making a commitment to equitable access to testing, treatment, and financial support.
As people of faith and moral courage, we will not accept a reality in which those with power and money are tested and treated, have access to ventilators and hospital beds, while those without resources are triaged away from care to suffer and succumb to the virus. We will not tolerate bailouts for large companies while working people are left to choose between staying safe or putting food on the table.
We must prioritize the most vulnerable among us, those who have health conditions that put them at-risk, the elderly, as well as those who are made vulnerable by the massive underlying racial and economic disparities that make the U.S. the most unequal country to face a major coronavirus outbreak.
Faith in Action calls on the Trump Administration and Congress to immediately take the following steps:
- TRUTH: Speak honestly about the threat posed by this pandemic, including that many of us will contract the virus and that without a commitment to equity those working at low-wage jobs and living in already neglected urban and rural communities will be most at-risk of widespread sickness and death.
- TEST: Make free testing widely available to all, regardless of immigration status, prioritizing those who are most vulnerable by testing through home visits, at community health centers and neighborhood sites and in place where people are incarcerated and detained, and by reporting on racial and economic disparities in who gets tested.
- TREAT: Release all federal resources needed to get health workers at safety-net hospitals that serve the most vulnerable communities enough personal protective equipment, ventilators, masks, more hospital beds, and other resources to treat the wave of at-risk patients that are on the way
- SUPPORT: Make sure that vulnerable families are able to protect themselves, care for their loved-ones and weather financial hardship by expanding Medicaid and food stamps, requiring paid sick and family leave at all firms for all workers, extending unemployment insurance, ending ICE raids, releasing as many people as possible from jail, prison and detention, and making free lunches available to eligible children whose schools are closed.
Rev. Alvin Herring is the Executive Director with Faith In Action.
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