Dr. Paul Zeitz
Launch of National Peoples’ Mobilization Calls for “COVID-19 Peoples’ New Deal” Requires Putting People First, Not Profits
With the unnecessary death of over 50,000 Americans and many thousands more predicted to die, the COVID-19 Emergency Response Group launched a national peoples’ mobilization today to demand that our political leaders prioritize saving as many lives as possible and take action to prevent a second wave of COVID-19 deaths.
The COVID-19 Emergency Response Group calls on Congress to urgently approve a comprehensive package of health and social measures that must address the racial and ethnic disparities that make Latinos and African-Americans more vulnerable, and the needs of immigrants, incarcerated people, and the homeless. Leaders call for the immediate passage of a “COVID-19 Peoples’ New Deal” as part of the next COVID-19 stimulus package to protect, test, and treat:
- Effective Public Health Response: rapid implementation of the National COVID-19 Containment Program for Rapid Testing, Contact Tracing, & Isolation; All health providers and essential employees must be provided with personal protective equipment (PPE) to ensure that they can prevent COVID-19 infection.
- Urgent Services for the People: Emergency hunger prevention by expanding food stamps through SNAP; emergency rental assistance by providing $100 billion of emergency funding; urgent nationwide moratorium on shutoff of water, electricity, and broadband services, and they receive free COVID-19 emergency medical services;
- Emergency Support to Cities and Local Governments: At least $500 billion is needed to enable cities and local governments to maintain services and create jobs by prioritizing renewable energy and sustainability as part of the American economic recovery.
Statements from Leaders:
Dennis Kucinich, Former Member of Congress: “As governments move to protect Wall Street and financial systems from collapse, so, too, must they move to protect Main Street and social systems, to provide money, health care, food, and all those things which protect people.”
Professor Elizabeth Kucinich, Regenerative Systems Consultant, documentary filmmaker: “If we have learned anything from this current COVID-19 crisis it is that each of us is interconnected and interdependent. What happens to one affects all. It is imperative that local, state and federal policies address the needs of everyone. An inclusive approach to food security, healthcare, economic well being, and access to communications for all is imperative for the vitality of our nation. To ignore our most vulnerable populations would be suicide.”
Mustafa Ali, former Senior EPA Official & former senior advisor to President Obama, Environmental Justice leader: “Communities of color, lower-wealth communities and indigenous peoples continue to be the sacrifice zones where they are hit first and worst from pollution, climate change and now COVID-19. We must move our most vulnerable communities from surviving to thriving-and we can do it together as a beloved community.”
Domingo Garcia, President of LULAC: “We must bold action to protect the lives of black and Hispanic people who are suffering disproportionately from COVID-19 because of the system of poverty and poor health care. Latinos are on the front lines in the COVID-19 crisis on farms and factories, and they must be protected from COVID-19 with personal protective equipment (PPE) every day to reduce the risk of COVID19 infection at their jobs. LULAC is calling for Latinos to have access to emergency paid sick leave, expanded unemployment insurance and free testing and treatment.”
Mayor Jennifer Roberts, former Mayor of Charlotte, NC: “We need more stimulus funds to go directly to our cities and counties. They are on the front lines for public health, housing, small business, and other needs, and thousands of cities are facing budget shortfalls that will result in service reduction – in areas like public safety – without direct federal assistance.”
Jean Su, Energy Justice Program Director and an attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, based in Washington, D.C.: “It’s deeply disappointing that this past Congressional package failed to include a moratorium on shutoffs of electricity, water and broadband services during this pandemic. Nearly forty percent of America is not covered by any state-mandated moratorium on power shutoffs, leaving millions of families unprotected and vulnerable to crippling debt. People’s needs shouldn’t be sacrificed for corporate balance sheets, and we’ll keep fighting to make sure this basic safeguard is in the next legislative package.”
Dr. Walter Tsou, former Commissioner of Health, Philadelphia & former President of the American Public Health Association: “Opening without a plan will not only cost lives, it will prolong the wave of joblessness, hunger and homelessness that is sweeping over our country. Just the act of gathering in crowds, which violates all social distancing rules, is turning the clock of recovery backwards.”
Dr. Paul Zeitz, Executive Director of Build A Movement 2020 & Co-Chair of the COVID-19 Emergency Response Group: “Congress took an important step in providing $25 billion for a national testing strategy. Implementation must focus on a robust COVID-19 containment program for people living in nursing homes, the homeless, imprisoned people, and African-America and Latinos who are the most vulnerable populations.”
The COVID-19 Emergency Response Group was formed in March 2020 by leading public health experts, faith and business leaders, current & former senior Congressional Hill staffers, current and former local and state elected officials, and leaders of global, national and local NGOs. Our mission is to support others in mobilizing the people’s voice to save as many lives as possible.