AF Weekly Tip Sheet: Policy and Advocacy (6/15)

Below is the latest America Forward “Tip Sheet,” a weekly update related to COVID-19 relief and recovery legislation.

Coalition Response to COVID-19 Crisis

On Tuesday, America Forward was proud to publish this catalog of ongoing work in response to the COVID-19 crisis by America Forward Coalition members in communities across the country.

This compilation highlights a broad range of nonprofits and social entrepreneurs across the America Forward Coalition and provides a snapshot of how these innovative, results-driven organizations are adapting and working tirelessly to serve their communities in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Over the remainder of 2020, we look forward to inviting policymakers, elected officials, and campaign staff from both parties to join us to discuss the COVID-19 crisis with these leaders of America Forward nonprofit organizations.

We’d like to thank our Coalition members for the outpouring of impactful and inspiring stories about your work in this difficult time, in response to our surveys and invitations on this topic over the past month. We will work to keep this compilation updated – if any members of our Coalition wish to add additional updates in the coming weeks – feel free to do so via our survey here.

Letter: Supporting Connectivity for Higher Education Students

Last week, America Forward signed onto a letter from Higher Learning Advocates, urging Congressional leaders to include the provisions of the Supporting Connectivity for Higher Education Students in Need Act that would provide funding for increased broadband access, in the next COVID-19 legislative relief package. The letter articulates that due to the COVID-19 crisis, “students lost more than access to lecture halls and student unions; they lost stable housing, reliable sources of food, and connectivity to the internet for their learning.” Of these students, Black, Hispanic, and Native American populations are disproportionately impacted by the lack of broadband access.

The bill, introduced recently by Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), would provide “$1 billion to colleges and universities to pay for at-home internet connections for students in need. Higher education institutions can use the funding to pay for routers, modems, wi-fi hotspots, tablets, or laptops, as well as monthly broadband service for students.” This legislation would offer significant aid to Today’s Students, providing critical support for the continuation and completion of their educations.

From the Coalition

Commentary: Invest in strength of Detroiters to uproot poverty, systemic racism

Kofi Kenyatta, Partnership Director of the Family Independence Initiative, makes the case for improving social and economic progress and mobility by investing in people and removing the unjustifiable barriers to success that Black communities face. He explains, “As it turns out, unrestricted access to capital is not only good for businesses, it is good for people too. Financial capital coupled with social capital is a powerful combination that accelerates social-economic mobility.” Read his full piece here.

Commentary: Three Strategies to Optimize Students’ Learning and Development in Today’s Context

Turnaround for Children’s Nora Gomperts and Pamela Cantor, MD, articulate the importance of designing positive contexts and environments, in order to create the conditions for children to experience optimal growth and development. They argue: “This science is critical for understanding and addressing the trauma, pain, fear, and hardship that many students—especially black students—are facing as a result of racial violence, including the killing of George Floyd and other black people across the country; systemic oppression and marginalization; societal unrest; and the physical, social, and economic effects of COVID-19 on young people and their families.” Read their full piece here.

What’s Next

Reports from Senate leadership indicate that another COVID-19-related bill will not be finalized until mid to late July.

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