A statement from America Forward and New Profit:
At this deeply painful time in America, I am reaching out to share a statement that New Profit/America Forward released this week about police brutality and the longstanding systemic inequities and injustice we see in stark relief all around us. Uniting our voices in collective advocacy for policies that combat systemic racism, advance equity, and expand opportunity has never been more important. The America Forward team is grateful for the important work that our Coalition organizations do in communities across our country every day, and we remain steadfast in our commitment to stand shoulder to shoulder with all of our Coalition members in pursuit of equity and justice.
Deborah S. Smolover, J.D., America Forward Executive Director, New Profit Managing Partner
Black Lives Matter.
The killings of unarmed Black people by police officers are unjust and unacceptable, and we are appalled by the actions of some leaders in our country who are advancing anti-Black, divisive rhetoric amidst the pain and outcry over these deaths.
New Profit condemns this violence unequivocally. We believe Black lives matter. That means we stand with Black people everywhere who are feeling anger, pain, loss, grief, and exhaustion at injustice, including our New Profit colleagues and members of our community. While these conditions have deep historic roots, the last few months have seen the violence acutely overlap with health, civic, and economic crises that are also disproportionately affecting communities of color. The totality of America’s racial inequity has been on full display.
We all must play our part in uprooting and rebuilding the systems behind these inequities. For our part, we commit to continuing our work to become an inclusive, anti-racist organization and community. We commit to continuing to invest in the ideas, talent, power, and solutions of leaders of color and communities of color. We commit to creating spaces that foster love, grace, solidarity, and action. We commit to bringing humility and an eagerness to learn to our partnerships with people and organizations who share our mission of advancing equity and opportunity for all Americans.
We invite you all to learn alongside us, as our team is continuing to advance our own personal and organizational equity practice. This is by no means comprehensive but here are some resources that are giving us guidance, solace, and inspiration as we navigate these challenging times both individually and collectively:
- The 1619 Project, curated by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, on America’s history of systemic racial inequity from the New York Times
- Author and activist Rachel Cargle’s public address on the realities of the revolutionary moment we are in today
- Just Mercy by public interest lawyer and Equal Justice Initiative founder and executive director Bryan Stevenson on the importance of confronting injustice, which was recently turned into a feature film that is being made free to stream in the month of June
- The work of poet Clint Smith, whose book Counting Descent is a stark, challenging, and beautiful coming of age story as a young Black man in America
- National Book Award-winning author Ibram X. Kendi’s How to Be an Antiracist that is an essential read for people wanting to go beyond awareness to action
- The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by civil rights lawyer Michelle Alexander
- Historian Jill Lepore’s book These Truths: A History of the United States
- James Loewen’s book The Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong, which offers an eye-opening critique of how we are taught history in America
Below is the latest America Forward “Tip Sheet,” a weekly update related to COVID-19 relief and recovery legislation.
Update: Paycheck Protection Program
Last week, the Senate passed and the President signed into law the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Flexibility Act of 2020 (H.R. 7010), which will address a few key issues with the PPP: (1) extend the time businesses have to rehire employees and qualify for loan forgiveness under the program beyond the existing June 30 deadline; (2) extend beyond two years the period for paying back portions of the loans that are not forgiven, and (3) eliminate the “75-25” rule implemented by the White House that says businesses have to spend at least 75 percent of the loan on payroll costs and no more than 25 percent on other expenses like rent and utilities.
The bill was originally passed by the House in late May.
From the Coalition
As schools across the country move online and distance learning continues amid COVID-19, the question of access to digital technology for all students remains pressing in many communities. Turnaround for Children has created a resource document in an effort to assist school districts in offering digital learning that is equitable and accessible to every learner. The full report, “Providing Effective and Equitable Digital Learning for all Students: Key Considerations for Districts,” can be found here.
Like many of you, policymakers in Washington last week were focused primarily on the national response to events in Minnesota; however, congressional leaders continue to contemplate what the next COVID-19-related bill will include. Final action on legislation is likely to conclude in mid to late July. America Forward will continue to engage and advocate for those relief measures that are critical to our Coalition’s response and recovery.
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