Weekly Update: Let us take back the narrative

Dear friends and allies,

It is time we take back the narrative of “reopenings.” Our legislators are determining the well-being of our communities and we need to ensure that they hear our voices. All over the country, people are being asked to return to normal: to send our children back to school, to return to work, and to be financially stable on our own. We know, though, that this return and reopening needs to come with equitable access to resources and protections from the effects of the pandemic. Without it, no return can ensure a just recovery. 

We see all of you fighting for justice, equality, and the safety of our communities. You have been supporting the extension of eviction moratorium, and this week, we saw a minor victory where the Governor extended the moratorium for another 60 days. But that is not enough. The eviction moratorium needs to be extended to a full year. 

Real change starts with action. Below are a few ways you can keep participating in our fights to bring about this change.

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

A Just Recovery from the COVID-19 Pandemic

Community Groups Assemble Wellness Kits for People of Color

Before the coronavirus pandemic, many communities in Boston were facing difficulties with safe housing, finding good jobs, caring for family members, and staying healthy. This has only gotten worse. Thanks to a recent grant from the Boston Resiliency Fund, organizations across the City have come together to assemble wellness kits that will support families of color directly affected by the pandemic. The distribution of these wellness kits will provide critical information to these families to mitigate the impact of the pandemic. Each kit includes masks and cleaning supplies, and important information on the census, cleaning safely, domestic violence, housing rights, public charge rules, worker health, and workers’ rights. View photos from the event here.

Care That Works Storytelling Series: Anne Osula’s Story

This week we’re introducing a new storytelling project, which aims to amplify the voices of caregivers during the pandemic — particularly those who care for children. The caregiving work of parents, relatives, nannies, neighbors, and child care providers has changed during the pandemic, bringing unprecedented challenges. Care work is often unseen and unrecognized in our society, especially now as more of it is happening in the home. Through this project, we bring the voices and stories of the incredible caregivers in our communities to you regularly. This week, we bring you the story of Anne Osula, a family child care provider and leader in her union and community. 

Partner Spotlight: Mass Senior Action Council

Massachusetts seniors face the highest economic insecurity in the United States, trailing states like New York, Mississippi, and Vermont. Mass Senior Action Council is fighting for healthcare relief for seniors that they deserve, especially in the midst of a global pandemic that has left so many seniors vulnerable. We are proud to stand in solidarity with our partners in this fight and hope that you will share this action alert calling upon legislators to expand Medicare Savings Program. 

4 Actions to Affect Legislative Change

Email your State Representative to Co-Sponsor the Immigrant Driver’s License Amendment to the Police Reform Bill

Allowing Bay Staters to apply for driver’s licenses regardless of their immigration status is a common-sense public policy that benefits everyone. The Drivers Families Forward coalition, therefore, asks you to send a letter to your lawmakers in the Massachusetts State Legislature to urge them to pass An Act Relative to Work and Family Mobility (H.3012/S.2641) this legislative session. This legislation would enable all qualified Massachusetts drivers, regardless of immigration status, to apply for a standard license that could only be used for driving, not for benefits, boarding a plane, or voting. Click here to email your state representative.

Tell State Legislatures: Massachusetts needs FULLY funded schools!

It’s undeniable that reopening Massachusetts’ public schools and colleges safely this fall will cost significantly more than in pre-COVID times. But due to uncertainty about the state’s commitment to funding public education, school districts all across the state are making budget cuts and laying off educators, and our public colleges are slashing their already-bare-bones budgets.

We can’t allow low-income students, students with disabilities, and English learners to fall behind while students in wealthy school districts move ahead, but that’s exactly what will happen if the state fails to act. 

The federal HEROES Act, passed by the U.S. House in May, would provide Massachusetts with $1.5 billion in education funding. Senate Republicans are refusing to bring it to a vote.

Tell your elected state officials to commit to fully funding public schools and colleges in Massachusetts, and ask Governor Charlie Baker to use his relationships with fellow Republicans to push for the passage of the HEROES Act.

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 August 18th. 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)

Win Environmental Justice for Our Communities

We know environmental justice cannot wait. Every person in MA should have a right to protection from pollution regardless of race, language ability, income, or immigration status. That is why our partners, Greenroots and Neighbor to Neighbor, are fighting to ensure equity and justice in our policies. They hosted a legislative briefing today to urge legislators to pass “An Act Relative to Environmental Justice in the Commonwealth” in this session. Please support their efforts by contacting your legislator and urging them to support this Act. 

Pandemic Profiteer Watch

Santander poised to profit from online used car lending, despite track record of predatory loans 

The multi-state suit alleged Santander would frequently fail to require proof of income for loan applications, did not properly oversee dealers’ conduct, and often extended loans that became unaffordable over their lifetime. In fact, subprime loans made up 82% of Santander’s retail auto loans. Santander violated consumer protection laws by offering subprime loans the company knew were likely to default. Troublingly, between 2013 and 2015, around half of the company’s subprime auto loan borrowers defaulted

Now, as a result of the agreement, Santander will pay $65 million for restitution and waive up to  $478 million in loan balances. Santander will pay the remaining $7 million of the settlement to the states to manage these restitution claims. 

Photo credit: “Santander Bank” by JeepersMedia is licensed under CC BY 2.0 

Op-ed: Fidelity Charitable should stop facilitating funding to organizations espousing racism

Recently, Abigail Johnson, the CEO of Fidelity Investments, wrote a LinkedIn post stating that she is “heartbroken and angry that racial discrimination and inequality continue to plague our society.”

And yet, behind the scenes, the Fidelity Charitable branch of her corporation lets money from its Donor-Advised Funds flow to organizations that espouse racist ideas and practices.

We fight outsized corporate influence in Massachusetts and aim to put working families and communities of color at the center of public decision-making. Last year, we asked Ms. Johnson to ensure that Fidelity Charitable stop allowing millions of dollars to be donated to anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, anti-LGBTQ+, and other organized bigotry groups. So far, she has refused. Read our full op-ed here. 

Thank you for reading and have a safe weekend!

In Solidarity

Community Labor United

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