MUA is United, Strong, and Still Defending Our Rights During COVID-19
by Lourdes Martinez, MUA Political Director
In these moments of public health crisis, MUA is doing everything possible to keep in touch with our members and provide them with important information on how to take care of themselves and obtain resources. (Please see our Facebook page and MUA Resource Guide for more details). In the meantime, we want to remind everyone that what protects us the most is to be well informed and committed to taking collective action in solidarity for the good not only of ourselves but of the whole community. Let’s stay informed! Let’s act collectively! Let’s stay united! And let’s defend our rights!
We must act collectively
This public health crisis reminds us that we are all human. We all need to be healthy to live and enjoy well-being. And in a moment like this, the health of each of us depends on everyone. While hospitals and the government care for sick people and administer tests for the virus, the community does its part following the instructions of the “Shelter-in-Place” order. The most important thing is to maintain social distance to prevent us from spreading the virus to others.
Despite the fact that most people who are infected with the virus will not becoming seriously ill, for the most vulnerable people, the risk is high and can even be life threatening. That is why it is important to take the necessary precautions even if we do not feel at great risk personally. Even if we appear to be healthy or without serious symptoms, if we are infected with the virus, we can transmit it to a vulnerable person and cause great harm. And those people will need medical attention to have a good chance of survival. We all have a personal responsibility to act collectively to protect vulnerable people.
We must stay healthy to avoid using the medical resources that someone else needs to survive. In this way we will ensure that our health system is not overloaded in such a way that hospitals cannot adequately serve the people who need it most. So let’s say all together: #Quedateencasa #StayAtHome
We must stay united
Let’s remember that this is an election year, and we know that the Right and the federal government are using immigrants and people of color as scapegoats to blame for all social ills. Their main way of attacking us is fear, which they use to immobilize us, so we do not take action and do not demand what we need and deserve as a community: health care, financial assistance, safe housing and other resources. We can only fight to secure these resources if we stand together and focus on fighting for the good of all.
So we must defend ourselves and not allow this public health crisis to be used against our community or any other community, including people of Asian descent. Our solidarity should not be only with our families, our neighbors and the entire Latinx immigrant community; it must be with all the communities vulnerable to these attacks. We should not be distracted from what really matters: a system that protects and cares for us all, that guarantees us a full life, with decent food, housing, work, and access to high quality public education and medical care.
Let’s not allow ourselves to be used by politicians who don’t care about our lives. Let’s stick together and be in solidarity with all affected communities.
We must defend our rights
If there is something that this crisis shows us, it is that our resources must be evenly distributed to benefit us all. No person should feel compelled to work out of financial need when they may be sick or have been exposed to the virus. No person should be short of money to pay their rent or necessary expenses because they have stayed at home to obey the Shelter-in-Place order and take care of our community. And absolutely no person should be left without a Coronavirus test or medical care when necessary due to immigration status or lack of health insurance. Our communities deserve the same care and precautions as everyone else. The good of all depends on the good of each one of us.
That is why at MUA we will be fighting for our rights and will call on our public officials and local, state and federal governments to implement policies and allocate resources according to the following priorities:
- Financial support for workers who are losing their income during this public health crisis, especially undocumented immigrants who are excluded from state and federal government financial assistance programs, such as disability insurance and unemployment benefits. In addition, lobby employers to implement comprehensive sick pay policies to protect the earnings of their workers.
- Measures to stop evictions and to suspend rent and mortgage payments for as long as necessary to ensure that our communities not only have homes to live in despite being without income, but also to support our economic recovery months later.
- Shelter and support services for people experiencing violence and abuse in the home during these days of Shelter-in-Place.
- Access to health care and COVID-19 testing for immigrants and others without health insurance. A public campaign in the appropriate languages, to disseminate information about these resources and to promote their use by our communities.
- Apply and strengthen sanctuary policies, as ICE has announced that they will continue to make arrests in immigrant communities and the federal government has sent the National Guard to California.
- Prevent people in the Bay Area and California jails and prisons from being at risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus, including measures to release many prisoners.