Georgia Community Response to COVID-19
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March 23rd, 2020
Dear Community Partners and Advocates:
In the coming weeks, the impact of COVID-19 will continue to test our resilience as communities and as a country. We must act immediately to provide necessary and basic human rights to fight back, together.
A prerequisite to public health is community trust and safety. Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Atlanta and the undersigned groups and community partners make the following demands:
We demand city, state, and other officials immediately condemn calling COVID-19 the “Chinese Virus,” and associated anti-Asian sentiments, xenophobia, and violence.
Elected officials, including President Trump and other White House aides, have referred to COVID-19 as the Chinese Virus despite official language from the World Health Organization deeming it COVID-19.
This language is dangerous for a number of reasons:
- It downplays its impact in other countries including Italy, Iran, South Korea, France, and the United States.
- It creates anti-Asian sentiments which have resulted in stereotyping and racist attacks.
- It distracts us from the very real issues of poverty, access to healthcare, homelessness, lack of paid sick time and reasonable wages, that COVID-19 is highlighting in our country.
As public servants and advocates it’s crucial to use the correct terms. During this difficult time, we must focus on fighting this virus together, not our neighbors.
We additionally ask that local officials demand and guarantee the following:
Support businesses and families
- Establish and advocate for a relief fund for small businesses and individuals.
- Closure of all non-essential businesses. Essential businesses must offer hazard pay to all workers.
- Moratorium on evictions, foreclosures and parking enforcement.
- Moratorium on rent, mortgages, fees, taxes, and utilities for individuals and small businesses.
Guarantee public safety and security
- Release everyone from jails and detention centers; temporarily release non-violent offenders from prisons. Medical officials in prisons have advocated for this to stem coronavirus outbreaks.
- Moratorium on arrests for nonviolent offenses.
- Suspend immigration courts and ICE and CBP operations.
Ensure community health and wellness
- Expand Medicaid coverage to ensure all low-income Georgians have health insurance.
- Draft and distribute multilingual resources regarding COVID-19 and related assistance as well as issues regarding domestic violence and home wellness checks.
- Guarantee free healthcare to anyone suspected of COVID-19 regardless of immigration status.
- Establish a hotline and resource assistance/delivery for anyone 65+ and/or is immunocompromised, including anyone with health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, asthma and other conditions that increase risk for complications with COVID-19.
Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Atlanta is the first and only legal advocacy organization dedicated to protecting the civil rights of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander (AANHPI) and Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian (AMEMSA) communities in Georgia and the Southeast.
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