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Hear Us Out - Protect the Vulnerable

The various ministries of the Christian Reformed Church in North America strive to care for our vulnerable neighbors well.  During this time of COVID-19 there are many ways in which we, as people of faith, can continue the work of loving our neighbors.  In fact, many of you are likely taking steps to physically distance yourself as a current expression of love!  

As you take these steps, we encourage you to also support your neighbors through advocacy (which you can do from your couch!)  Our Phone2Action partner has set up an initiative called #HearUsOut. This campaign encourages you to contact your local, state, and federal legislators with your most pressing concern regarding COVID-19.  The system will walk you through a series of questions and form a customized message based on your responses.  

We hope that you will take this opportunity to design your own message expressing your concern as your legislators work hard to address the diverse and rapidly changing situation around this virus.  Below you’ll see a variety of issues that our offices (Office of Social Justice, Safe Church, Disability Concerns, and World Renew) are responding to and suggestions for language you can use to bring them to the attention of your elected officials. However, if you have another issue close to your heart please share it with your legislators!  

Caring for Refugees and Asylum Seekers

Writing Suggestion: Around the world, millions of refugees and asylum-seekers are at heightened risk because of this global pandemic. I urge you to address the current needs of my refugee neighbors by ensuring that they are made eligible for cash assistance, unemployment income, and additional resettlement services such as healthcare, housing, utilities, transportation, and food assistance.  Additionally, refugees currently waiting to come to the US must be given an extension to the validity period of their security checks so that family separation is not further prolonged. As a Christian called to seek justice, I urge you to please do everything you can to prioritize the most vulnerable refugees, such as unaccompanied minors, and to ensure that the administration expeditiously resumes processing asylum claims and resettling refugees to the US once it is deemed safe to public health to do so.

Caring for People with Disabilities

Writing Suggestion:  As a person of faith, I believe every life has value. People with disabilities need you and everyone to know that #WeAreEssential. Although churches and other organizations provide needed community, many people with disabilities and seniors depend on benefits provided by local and federal governments for the food, housing, and personal support they need to live. Many professional support workers in turn need child care support. Many people with disabilities live with social isolation which is made more severe by the social distancing now required of so many of us. I urge you to consider the needs of people with disabilities and ensure funding for the programs that provide supports they need. 

Caring for Children at Risk

Writing Suggestion: As a member of the faith community, I have been saddened by the news that has been coming out around the world about the significant, negative impact social distancing has had on vulnerable people. I am seeing spikes in reports on domestic abuse and child abuse. Whereas teachers and schools used to be able to offer a safe haven for children who don’t have enough to eat and/or who deal with domestic violence, neglect, or unsafe home conditions, I am concerned that there is no one to protect these children at this time. I am watching this crisis unfold, and I urge you to pay attention. As decisions are being made regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, please ensure that proper funding is in place for critical services that meet the needs of this vulnerable population.

Caring for those who are Food Insecure 

Writing Suggestion: I am particularly concerned as a person of faith about the millions of people in the United States and around the world who are living in extreme poverty and hunger. These vulnerable populations are likely to be hit the hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic as people lose their incomes and have less access to food assistance programs, such as free or reduced-price school meals. Though private individuals and organizations will be doing as much they can to assist vulnerable populations at this time, their effect will not be enough without the additional impact of what local, state, and federal governments are able to provide. Therefore, I urge you to consider the needs of those living in hunger in the U.S. and around the world and to provide full funding and access to domestic and global nutrition programs during the COVID-19 crisis.

Caring for those in need of Restoration

Writing Suggestion: As a person of faith, I want to ensure that current and formerly incarcerated persons are not overlooked and made invisible in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Returning Citizens should be met with transitional protocols and hand-off plans which release them into community-based services that address urgent health issues and other concerns. Direct assistance to help with access to food, housing, income and other basic needs should be made a priority. The currently incarcerated should also be provided access to resources that meet the Center for Disease Control’s recommended hygiene routines to protect themselves, as well as prison staff, in this moment of crisis. I urge you to please prioritize these individuals and families who are far too often ignored.

Caring for People Affected by Climate Change

Writing Suggestion: COVID-19 has exposed glaring racial disparities in our health and economic systems that have long caused communities of color to be disproportionately affected by climate change, making them more vulnerable to job loss, debt, wealth loss, illness, and death during this time. To address these systemic injustices, I urge you to prioritize the needs of these vulnerable communities as you consider long-term recovery packages. Please provide funding and resources to communities of color who have been historically impacted by environmental racism to address health risks caused by air and water pollution as well as create more resilience to future disasters. As I Christian, I am called to prioritize the needs of people who are vulnerable, knowing that our ability to flourish as a nation is dependent on the well-being of everyone.

Caring for Immigrants Working Essential Jobs in Food Production

The current pandemic has made immigrants and refugees working in food production more vulnerable. Recent spikes in coronavirus cases at meat packing plants in South Dakota, Iowa, and Minnesota, have disproportionately affected immigrants. They are mothers and fathers working to make a better life for their children. They are refugees from Sudan, Somalia, and Guatemala that have fled from war and violence. Meaningful work is an important part of what it means to be humans made in the image of God. These jobs are vital to the economy and the well-being of those who work them. No one, however, should be exploited. Work becomes toil when it is a source of oppression, sickness, and death. Please do everything you can to protect immigrants and refugees working essential jobs in food production.

Advocate Now at #HearUsOut
Canadian readers you can take action here!

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