Weekly Update: Back to School

Dear friends and allies,

Fall is approaching, and children, educators and workers are headed back to school. It’s a year unlike any other. The uncertainty caused by the combination of the coronavirus pandemic, poor economy, and the push for social change, has imposed a “new normal” on Massachusetts and the rest of the nation.

Parents are juggling work and their children’s coursework. Even though we are starting a new school year, many questions seem unclear: What will the school day look like for elementary, middle school, and high school students across different districts in our state? How, if at all, will extracurriculars figure into the equation?

As the district’s near reopening, our partners remain at the forefront of advocating for schools to reopen safely. Massachusetts Jobs with Justice (Mass JwJ), a coalition of community, faith, and labor groups, and Parents Union of Massachusetts (PUMA) issued a report this month about school and learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. Filled with responses from more than 275 families, it examines their experiences this past spring shifting to remote learning and dealing with the closure of school sites. We urge you to read this report and join our fight. 

The Massachusetts Teachers Association is pushing for districts and educators to be given proper guidelines on requiring remote teaching from schools, using safety as the primary metric for triggering remote learning. 

Join us and the American Federation of Teachers Massachusetts (AFT) members in telling Governor Baker that we need to start the year with remote learning if districts and the State can’t meet proper health and safety criteria!

We must provide a safe learning and working environment for our students and their teachers this school year. But just as things appear to be heading in one direction, they can change on a dime. Confusion has been caused by local, state, and national health and education officials and shifting guidelines. 

Please help us continue the fight by sharing our Facebook posts as well as following and retweeting us on Twitter. You can also receive regular updates from CLU by signing up on our website.

CLU’s Jane Porcel introducing keynote speaker Boston Mayor Marty Walsh. We were glad to be a part of the Greater Boston Labor Council’s Labor Day event outside the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. In line with coronavirus social distancing guidelines, we and others were energized by the rally and the brave examples being set by our essential partners, who have put their health and safety on the line every day to do their jobs.

A Just Recovery from the COVID-19 Pandemic

Call Mayor Walsh: Help Win a Just Housing Plan for Suffolk Downs

Suffolk Downs, the 109-acre parcel of land formerly home to a horse racing track in East Boston, is currently under redevelopment by The HYM Investment Group. The proposal includes 7,000 units of luxury housing, commercial development, and open space — a vision of massive scale that would create a new city in East Boston and next to Revere. Even though housing prices and eviction rates have spiked in East Boston over the past five years, HYM plans only include 13% of income-restricted housing, Boston’s minimum requirement under the Inclusionary Development Policy. That means 87% of housing units will be too expensive for any family earning less than $80,000 per year. Call Mayor Walsh and tell him Suffolk Downs needs more affordable housing and net-zero carbon development for East Boston’s working-class families, to lessen the displacement crisis in Boston.

Food Drive at GreenRoots

The effects of COVID-19 pandemic are devastating to vulnerable individuals and families. It is critical that we sustain the emergency response while helping our communities emerge stronger and more prepared for the future. The United Way is committed to providing help to those in need of food assistance as well as information about economic support during this time. Join us this Saturday, as we participate in the United Way’s food drive.

September 19, 2020
9 a.m. to Noon
227 Marginal Street
Chelsea, MA 02150

Race and Voucher Discrimination in the Metro Boston Rental Housing Market

The Boston Foundation (TBF) is seeking to bring the collective power of Boston’s people and resources together to drive real change. Established in 1915, TBF is one of the largest community foundations in the nation focused on the connection between race and housing. Housing has a major impact on a person’s health, economic, and social outcomes, and hasn’t been any easier with the current public health crisis we are in. With evidence of racial discrimination affecting housing, employment, and basic necessities, The Boston Foundation, and its partners, have released a study to explore the challenges impacting our communities. The study finds that 49% of Black testers experienced racial discrimination while looking for homes while 80% of white testers were able to arrange a viewing of apartments with ease. These findings accentuate the need for change. Read the full study here.

Enough is Enough! Let Our Families Drive!

After months of organizing district meetings, actions, and demanding for the passage of the Work & Family Mobility Act – thousands of Black and brown immigrant families continue to live in fear of ICE detention for being stopped for a traffic violation and many are being deported – even during a pandemic. All families deserve the right to move freely in our state and live in dignity. On September 26, the Driving Families Forward coalition will march Haymarket to the JFK building, demanding legislators be held accountable to support expanding access to driver’s licenses across the Commonwealth! 

Envisioning Equity Part I: Equitable Education through the Crisis

This upcoming Tuesday, MassBudget is hosting the first Envisioning Equity, a series of community conversations examining how our state budget can help build economic and racial justice in Massachusetts. The state budget, passed by the legislature every year, is a statement of our Commonwealth’s values. How policymakers choose to raise revenue and what to spend that revenue on shows how committed we are to supporting our people and our communities, particularly those affected by structural racism and disinvestment, by both the public and private sectors. Register for the event today.

Contact your legislators for the Guaranteed Housing Stability Act!

HELP WIN THE GUARANTEED HOUSING STABILITY ACT – HD.5166 in the Massachusetts State House. Tens of thousands of families across Massachusetts will be at risk of eviction, when our State’s eviction moratorium expires on October 17. This bill will prevent a massive surge of unjust evictions and foreclosures due to COVID-related debt, prevent rent hikes and no-fault evictions as we recover from COVID-19, and help establish a Housing Stability & Recovery Fund to relieve small business owners. Here is how you can take action:

Call your legislators
Email your legislators
Call your legislators (Spanish)
Email your legislators (Spanish)

Thank you for reading and taking action!

In Solidarity,

Community Labor United

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