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Marion Wright Edelman
Marion Wright Edelman
Marc Morial, President and CEO, National Urban League
Mark Morial

Harriet Tubman Goes to Congress
Gwendolyn Briley-Strand, world-renowned actress, outside of Senator Tom Carper Office (D-DE) in Washington, D.C.

(Black PR Wire) Washington (March 23, 2020)—In commemoration of Harriet Tubman Day on March 10, internationally renowned actress, Gwendolyn Briley-Strand, brought Harriet Tubman to the Halls of Congress, and she brought some passengers with her. Local 1-2 of Utility Workers Union of America, AFL-CIO, Worcester County NAACP Branch, and HR 1242 Resilience Project were present to encourage Congress to introduce legislation to rename Virginia Inside Passage to the Harriet Tubman Waterway.

Harriet speaks at the Office of Senator Carper https://youtu.be/VpMPTfFboCI 

On September 24, 2016, Ms. Briley-Strand was given the honor of introducing the President of The United States Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, President George W. Bush, former First Lady Laura Bush, and all the dignitaries and celebrities at the Grand Opening of the African American Museum Of History And Culture in Washington DC.

Wherever there was a waterway, it was an escape route for the enslaved. The Virginia Inside Passage, along with several bays located in Virginia, Maryland and Delaware was the corridor for freedom along the Eastern Shore of Delmarva Peninsula and saw countless enslaved Africans take this route to emancipate themselves from the shackles of slavery. Harriet Tubman made 13 trips between her home in Dorchester County on the Delmarva Peninsula. The mouth of this waterway begins at the Chesapeake Bay, which was the entry point of many slave ships arriving from West Africa.

This legislation is designed to bring a wave of healing to the United States of America. In no way is this aimed to rewrite history, but to acknowledge the past, and move our country towards the future. This waterway will honor the enslaved who traverse this route, and the abolitionists and Native Americans who gave refuge to them along the way. There are no appropriations needed from Congress for the Harriet Tubman Waterway Act.

On the net: www.hr1242resilience.com 

 

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Marian Wright Edelman

ChildWatch: Help Through Our Shared National and World Crisis

As our nation and world enter the full terrors of the COVID-19 crisis the Children’s Defense Fund has been taking special steps to ensure that our most vulnerable children and their families are protected. We urged and applauded the swift passage of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which includes critical provisions for children and families like access to coronavirus testing and expanded food assistance, unemployment benefits and paid sick leave. And we are pushing for children to be a priority in the next relief package, which must include supports for families facing financial crisis and homelessness, children in the child welfare system, and much more. Congress must put people before politics and act now to help children.

We will also continue to share resources from experts on how the coronavirus impacts children, how to talk to children about the outbreak, and more. For example:

• American Academy of Pediatrics has information on the COVID-19 pandemic, including symptoms, how to protect your family, how to prepare for school or child care closings, and talking to children. The AAP also has information on hand washing.

• Our partners at Generations United have created a fact sheet for grandfamilies and multigenerational families to stay healthy, informed, and connected.

• The Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) has compiled a list of resources? related to ensuring that children who are out of school can still access meals. They are also sharing an action and advocacy tool for maximizing the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)’s role in supporting health, food security, and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.

• The US Department of Labor has a portal to provide information about applying for unemployment benefits in your state.

• The Juvenile Law Center, The Hope Center, and School House Connection published a fact sheet on supporting students who are homeless or in foster care.

• UNICEF has tips for how to talk to your children about the COVID-19 pandemic.

• The Centers for Disease Control is sharing guidance on managing mental health and coping during COVID-19 for children and caregivers.

• We’ve put together a round-up of free digital education tools that may be of interest to caregivers (non-educators) who are looking for engaging and enriching content to share with their children while at home, ranging from great videos to digital explorations, games, and even full text books.

And I and millions of others and you if you are a person of faith should continue to pray. So I share a few prayers here for a quick end to this scourge.

 

God, make our hearts bigger

our love deeper

our faith stronger

our hope unwavering

our strength greater

our efforts unceasing

our voices unflinching

our vision and actions Yours.

 

***

I have turned to Thomas Merton’s wonderful prayer “The Road Ahead” again and again in many different situations as I’ve asked for guidance.

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always, though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

***

God, help us to do what we have to do each day, and leave tomorrow to You.

 

***

I end with “A Prayer for Our Time” by Rev. Frederick J. Streets, the Senior Pastor of Dixwell Congregational Church in New Haven and former Yale Chaplain. He is a licensed clinical social worker and the anchor and co-chaplain-in-residence at CDF’s annual Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry.

 

A Prayer for Our Time

Spirit of All Creation:

May our faith in you and one another guide us as we cannot yet see our way through this time of crisis.

May our hope in you and the goodness of our neighbors strengthen us as we endure our discomforts and fears.

Give comfort to all who are emotionally, physically and spiritually distressed.

Bless our health care providers and all who are taking care of those who are ill.

Grant wisdom and discernment to those who are researching and searching for medicines to combat our diseases, the coronavirus and other illnesses.

Help us to reassure and comfort our children and protect them from harm and danger.

Grant, O God, those who lead our governments, institutions, hospitals, our schools and local organizations, safety and emergency services and us, wisdom beyond our own wisdom to contain the coronavirus; faith beyond our own faith to help us to fight our fears and strength beyond our own strength to be resilient and sustain all of our vital institutions through this time of turmoil.

Although we are physically separated from one another help us, Eternal One, to maintain our social connection to one another by our creatively and ethically using social media.

Help each of us to know that there is something in us stronger than fear. Birth in us a new sense of hope that will help us to rise above the clouds of despair.

Grant, Eternal Love that we emerge from this time of crisis a more loving people who are more committed to the welfare of all and the earth that sustains us.  Amen.

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Marc Morial, President and CEO National Urban Legue

To Be Equal: Coronavirus Crisis Highlights Racial Disparity In Healthcare and Economy
Federal Response Must Include Targeted Relief to Hardest-Hit Communities

“Far too many African Americans still struggle to lead healthy and economically secure lives. This is due to the long-standing effects of racism, which touches all African Americans, regardless of socioeconomic status. These effects can be reversed, but it will take real commitment and systemic change. It shouldn’t have taken an international pandemic to prove to America’s leaders what civil rights activists have known all along: a system in which people can’t afford to seek medical care and are forced to  go to work sick is a recipe for national disaster.”

– Jamila Taylor, Director of Health Care Reform and Senior Fellow, The Century Foundation

 

At every point along our health care and economic systems, Black Americans are more vulnerable to the most serious effects of the coronavirus crisis. We are more likely to have underlying health complications, like asthma. Our complaints are less likely to be taken seriously by medical professionals. We are less likely to receive treatment for our complaints. Even with treatment, we are less likely to experience positive outcomes. The high level of disparity erodes Black Americans’ trust in the health care system.

Although the Affordable Care Act extended health insurance to  2.8 million African-Americans, 9.7 percent remained uninsured in 2019, compared with 5.4 percent among whites. Out-of-pocket health care expenses represent 20% of household income for Black families, compared with 11% for white households.

Several months ago, researchers found that a process used to guide health care decisions for millions of people was beset with racial bias, drastically underestimating the needs of the sickest Black patients.

According to the Washington Post: The algorithm wasn’t intentionally racist—in fact, it specifically excluded race. Instead, to identify patients who would benefit from more medical support, the algorithm used a seemingly race-blind metric: how much patients would cost the health-care system in the future. But cost isn’t a race-neutral measure of health-care need. Black patients incurred about $1,800 less in medical costs per year than white patients with the same number of chronic conditions; thus the algorithm scored white patients as equally at risk of future health problems as black patients who had many more diseases.

Because of systemic barriers, African Americans receive less health care—so the algorithm identified Black patients as less in need of care, creating a vicious cycle of neglect.

We cannot allow this neglect to continue in the face of a deadly epidemic. We must insist that testing and treatment are available in underserved low-income neighborhoods and communities of color, and that the care is commensurate with that offered in other communities.

The nation’s two-pronged response—delivering health care and economic relief—presents a unique opportunity to address bias and disparity and, and to begin to build a more equitable system.

The National Urban League is leading the effort to shape the nation’s response so that the communities hardest hit by the crisis are not overlooked.  We are working with Congressional leaders to ensure that coronavirus response legislation must take racial equity into account—not just in the wake of the crisis, but permanently.

Black families need access to quality, affordable health care—not just now, but all the time. Schoolchildren need broadband access—not just now, but all the time. Workers need paid sick leave, paid family leave and unemployment compensation—not just now, but all the time.

Times of crisis expose the cracks in an institution’s structure. Now is the time to repair them.

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