Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Marylanders United and Progressive Maryland continue to work in tandem to trace the pathways out of our pandemic dilemmas. Sure, we want to get back to work -- but not with sacrifice zones that somehow seem to include our most vulnerable people. Find out RIGHT HERE what we are doing on health care, equitable legislation to strengthen our communities and justified demands of our public officials.

It's all in the Memo.

Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Tuesday May 26 2020

Marylanders United and Progressive Maryland continue to work in tandem to trace the pathways out of our pandemic dilemmas. Sure, we want to get back to work -- but not with sacrifice zones that somehow seem to include our most vulnerable people. Find out RIGHT HERE what we are doing on health care, equitable legislation to strengthen our communities and justified demands of our public officials.

 

PM Weekly Memo Update May 26, 2020

Progressive Maryland COVID-19 Response

We marked perhaps one of the saddest Memorial Days in our country’s history yesterday as people across the country took time to remember the nearly 100,000 lives lost to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).  Unfortunately, the number of cases and deaths in our state and region continue to grow and testing and contact tracing efforts are not increasing fast enough to meet the public health need. And in some places in the state residents are ignoring warnings and recommendations about the need for social distancing, for small gatherings (under 10) and wearing facial coverings. Governor Hogan’s actions and communications in the past two weeks have confused and frustrated residents and local officials. Many local county and city officials are feeling unsupported by the Hogan Administration as they try to navigate the crisis and muster the resources needed.

Del. Gabe Acevedo (MoCo) reported at our statewide meeting on health care last Thursday: Gov. Hogan said the disparate impact of COVID-19 on minority communities was “troubling” but, Gabe continued, Hogan had no plan to improve the situation. Hogan’s “national PR” about buying test kits from South Korea turned out to be one of Hogan’s many “fumbles” in failing to reach even minimal testing requirements. Yet he is opening the state up, and fits the US pattern of “black bodies are disposable” – we have only tested 3 percent of our population. Watch the whole meeting here: https://www.facebook.com/watchparty/2459538571003984/

ALSO hear, in the stream of our meeting last Thursday, about the two health care bills that Congress MUST pass – Kristy Fogle outlines the emergency bill introduced by Rep. Pramila Jayapal and others, HB 6674 (Medicare Crisis Act) which will allow immediate enrollment in Medicare during the crisis – it’s a bill that actually helps people, whereas the regular Dems in the House are pushing a COBRA extension bill that bails out the insurance companies. Connie Huynh of People’s Action emphasized the extra value of contacting your Maryland House members, none of whom (other than Rep. Jamie Raskin and, soon, Rep. Anthony Brown) have signed on to the bill. Connie also outlined the Health Care Emergency Guarantee Act, in which “all means all” and regardless of insurance status provides care across the board. It has been introduced in both House (HB 6906) and Senate and Sen. Chris Van Hollen needs to hear from constituents about its value.

Check out the critical information at state and federal level in this valuable statewide call, which includes feedback from participants and Q&A.

https://www.facebook.com/watchparty/2459538571003984/

Friends, we all miss our normal routines but we hope you will heed the experts and stay at home except for essential travel and to maintain physical distancing in order to stop the spread of this virus. We remain grateful every day to all who are serving on the front lines to deliver health care and to maintain vital services.

Like other calamities, the COVID-19 crisis is revealing many immediate and urgent needs and laying bare the inequities in our economy and society. That's why we are supporting mutual aid efforts for folks who need it and are fighting even harder for a more just society, a people centered economy, and a better democracy. Here’s how you can help these efforts:

                 

COVID-19 Legislative Update

We’re pushing for health and economic measures and action from our federal, state, and local public officials that will directly aid families, workers, renters, low wealth and vulnerable residents. On the local level, thanks to grassroots organizing and some progressive lawmakers, bills that protect renters are starting to be introduced and passed. Highlight in this area include:

 For more information about aid, resources, and information visit your County government website’s COVID-19 page to learn more. 

 On the federal level, the HEROES Act passed in the U.S. House of Representatives on May 15. It is a significant improvement on the previously passed CARES Act especially in terms of funding levels for state and local government which would receive 

Some other notable provisions:

--Financial support to individuals including immigrants and dependents aged 16 and older: $1,200 payments

--Free COVID testing and treatment including for immigrants, regardless of status

--Expanded paid/sick/family/leave for all workers

--A moratorium on foreclosures and evicitions

--Funding to expand vote by mail and safe in-person voting systems:  3.6 billion

--Critical funds for the US Postal Service:  $25 billion

 

But given the enormity of this pandemic more still needs to happen!  We support two excellent bills that have been introduced in Congress and would provide full health care coverage for all healthcare needs:

                 The Medicare Crisis Program Act   H.R.6674 https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/6674?s=1&r=2

 

                The Health Care Emergency Guarantee Act https://www.sanders.senate.gov/download/health-care-guarantee-section-by-section?id=D4920AB3-47FB-47CC-90A9-4527F97B31A8&download=1&inline=file

 Please email Sen. Chris Van Hollen and ask him to co-sponsor the Health Care Emergency Guarantee Act today.  https://www.marylandersunited.org/healthcare-guarantee-act

 

 On the state level we’ve joined with allies to press the Governor for more testing and for more caution and consideration of conditions on the ground before re-opening. We oppose his support of a move to freeze the minimum wage, especially at this time. Please sign the petition to the Board of Works:

And join us for our weekly virtual organizing call this Thursday at 5:30 to learn more about our county chapter work, our issue task forces and to get an update on the future of education funding and the Kirwan bill that the Governor vetoed.

June 2 Primary:

Elections matter, especially this year! It’s time to vote and to help us turn out the vote! Progressive Maryland is running phone banks almost every day through next Tuesday. Help elect progressives in some very close races for local offices in Baltimore, Prince George’s and Montgomery County.

 

If you’d like to learn more about Progressive Maryland’s COVID-19 mutual aid and organizing work please email Patty Snee at patty@progressivemaryland.org


PROGRESSIVE MARYLAND – OUR CHAPTERS AROUND THE STATE

Progressive Prince George’s 

PMD Montgomery

Frederick County Progressives

Take Action Anne Arundel County

Talbot Rising

Lower Shore Progressive Caucus

Meets June 4 -- more here

PMD Baltimore


EVENTS FROM OUR PROGRESSIVE ALLIES 

Thursday MAY 28 Virtual Meeting of Returning Citizens Community 5-7 PM The Justice Task Force of PG County, returning citizens and their advocates tackle urgent needs of our community during the pandemic -- including voter education/registration prior to the Maryland primary and the immediate need for housing and the prevention of homelessness for those being released from prison. For more info and registration click here.

Friday MAY 29 One Fair Wage Reimagining the Service Industry  1 PM-1:30 PM in conversation with service professionals and Senator Cory Booker as we discuss both the crisis and the opportunity - and the potential for change. https://www.facebook.com/onefairwage/live

Saturday MAY 30 Reversing Global Warming:  Introduction to Drawdown --10 AM-noon Via Zoom Meetings Registration is required at https://projectdrawdowndmv.eventbrite.com. Sponsors include PG Environmental Forum and College Park Committee for a Better Environment.

Saturday MAY 30 Maryland Green Party Virtual Assembly, 1 PM to  4 PM. Register for access. Program, issues, speakers at link.


>>Baltimore progressives, Check in on the wide-ranging Baltimore Activist Alert calendar and tip sheet at http://baltimorenonviolencecenter.blogspot.com/


Reading the Progressive Maryland BlogSpace: our recent blogs are shown below, but if you want a handy way to keep track – and never miss a blog post – you can sign up to get this Weekly Memo by email. Remember this is your blogspace and your participation is heartily invited. See something going on that you don’t like – or that you do like and hope to see more of? Send us your thoughts; submit to the moderator at woodlanham@gmail.com

We recently published these blog posts:

May 23, 2020 There is no First Amendment right to endanger others during pandemic

As President Trump opportunistically encourages religious organizations to violate legitimate state limits on the size of assembled groups, Mathew Goldstein reminds us that there is no constitutional right to endanger the lives of others.

May 22, 2020 PG Circuit Judges -- on the ballot, and influence is being felt

When Circuit Judges on the primary ballot -- usually open and shut, check the boxes and move on -- get the attention of powerful movers and shakers in state politics, what is going on? Activist LaTasha Ward offers a window on challengers to sitting judges -- and unusual pressure placed on local Prince George's officials in this usually sedate game.

May 21, 2020 Opinion: Coronavirus is Perpetuated by Segregation

As our Progressive Maryland/Marylanders United statewide call focuses on health care this afternoon -- a MoCo student activist reminds us here why health disparities play such a part in the uneven effects of COVID-19 in our diverse communities.

This pandemic, and our ability to respond, has laid bare the many inadequacies and the terrible inequities in our healthcare system, as well as the failures of the Trump Administration. The death toll and rate of infection has fallen disproportionately hard on communities of color and low income communities.

Please join us TODAY --  Thursday, May 21 -- as we talk about the COVID-19 health crisis. The problems are heart wrenching and staggering but there are solutions! Solutions and plans that will help workers, at-risk groups in our population, and all of us as we battle against the coronavirus and its impact. 

Learn how to become part of the solution for the health care we need.  Click here to RSVP.

You will:

  • Meet healthcare heroes like Kristy Fogle from the Maryland Progressive Healthcare Coalition from Ricarra Jones from SEIU 1199; and hear from them on the need for PPE, testing and improved working conditions.
  • Hear from Delegate Gabe Acevero (D-39) about some of the ways Maryland’s Black and Brown residents are being impacted and ways in which the state can and should respond.
  • Get an update from People’s Action on federal healthcare legislation.
  • Have an opportunity to ask questions and take action! 

This is a meeting you won’t want to miss! Marylanders United Virtual Organizing Meeting  Thursday, May 14, 2020  5:30-7:00PM

May 19, 2020 COVID-19 has Maryland's prisons under siege -- decarcerate now!

As of May 11, 2020, there have been approximately 300 confirmed COVID-19 cases within Maryland’s Correctional System. Nationally, over 70% of tested inmates in federal prisons have COVID-19/Coronavirus.

 At this very moment, thousands of people are sitting in cages -- alone, anxious, and terrified of contracting the coronavirus. 

We can, we should, we must reverse this trend and decarcerate for the safety of the  vulnerable in prison AND the society that surrounds them.

May 18, 2020 Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, May 18, 2020

This week in the Memo -- save our Fight For Fifteen minimum wage from the Board of Public Works loophole! Keep the state safe, resist the selfish astroturf effort to open up prematurely. Sign up for Thursday's statewide conversation on healthcare and the coronavirus. And read our blog posts. All here in the Memo.

May 15, 2020 Decarcerate! -- it's how to save lives in our crowded and ill-managed Maryland prisons

Find out how many prisoners are still endangered by COVID-19 and lax health policies in Maryland's prisons.

Progressive Maryland/Marylanders United explore the legislative aspects and concerns with a Prince George's delegate, examine the relationship with the long-standing opoid addiction that has plagued the state for years and hear from advocates across the state -- including some with relatives in the system -- about how far short the prison system is falling in protecting inmates and employees. Follow this link to catch up on yesterday's (Thursday, May 14) weekly statewide meeting: and plan to join us next Thursday for our next statewide meeting, a discussion of health care organizing in the urgent context of the COVID-19 emergency. Register here.

>REMEMBER – these blog posts are frequently expressions of political opinion from our wide-ranging membership and circle of allies. They are not expressions of opinion by Progressive Maryland. Don’t be surprised if they sometimes vary in their political content. You might even disagree with them – a good reason to contribute a blog of your own. Send it to the moderator, Woody Woodruff, at woodlanham@gmail.com.

>>Keeping up with the blogs is easier with the index. The blogs published in the PM BlogSpace from June 2015 through December 2016 are all available with descriptions and links here. You can follow blogs for 2017-18 starting from here