There were many events last Friday to celebrate Juneteenth, the anniversary of June 19, 1865 when enslaved people in Texas were told of their freedom – the final state to hear the proclamation. We know that so much more work is needed for Black communities to experience true economic, cultural, and systemic freedom, and we are grateful to the many organizations that led marches and teach-ins to help us achieve that reality. Top left – the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and A. Philip Randolph Institute Seattle hosted a rally and march to accompany the shutdown of Pacific coast ports (photo by Cindy Domingo). Top right – Rev. Osagyefo Sekou led Militant Nonviolent Civil Disobedience Trainings at the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP), sponsored by Valley & Mountain and the WA Poor People’s Campaign. Bottom: The King County Equity Now Coalition, Africatown, the Umoja Peace Center, and many other Central District Black organizations led a Freedom March and People’s Assembly. (other photos by Tara MillerBerry)
Sign I-1776 by July 2!
Many of you signed, gathered signatures, wrote your legislators, and shared about I-1000 for affirmative action which passed in the 2019 legislative session but was overturned by a small margin by R-88 on the November ballot. The quest to reinstate affirmative action in Washington State continues this year with I-1776, which includes a new Public Health component in light of the disproportionate impacts of COVID-19 on Black people, Indigenous people, people of color, and seniors. I-1776 will expand prohibitions on discrimination by the state, limit the current prohibition on preferential treatment, require that government agencies work to ensure no-cost vaccinations, and expand public availability of disease-related data.
An unprecedented 390,000 people signed I-1000, and we need your help to exceed 300,000 signatures for I-1776 by July 2! Please sign and share I-1776 today: yeson1776.com/. It took some time to get the digital signature process approved, but now you can sign online, or print a petition and email or mail in the signatures. PLEASE SHARE WIDELY this weekend!
Progressive Revenue, Not Cuts!
FAN has signed on with 70+ other coalition members to say that our state must attend to the nearly $9 Billion projected budget shortfall not with cuts to critical programs, but with progressive revenue. The letter we signed to Governor Inslee, Majority Leader Billig, and Speaker Jinkins states: “The largest tax cuts in recent years have been to the top income tax rate, which disproportionately benefits the highest-income households while middle- and low-income taxpayers feel tremendous losses in areas such as childcare, public education, and healthcare. Additionally, we know that the families who have been hardest hit by the COVID-19 crisis are those furthest from opportunity: immigrant families, families of color, and families living on low incomes. Unfortunately, our state’s over-reliance on the sales tax has exacerbated this crisis compared to other states. Washington’s upside-down tax system means Jeff Bezos can reap extra billions from e-commerce during this crisis while millions of families across Washington suffer. This suffering will only be compounded if lawmakers do not take swift action to raise new, progressive revenue and stave off devastating cuts to essential services and programs.”
With a special session now expected in August, we will be calling on you to urge your legislators to adhere to these five principles as they consider their response to these economic and public health crises:
- Reject an austerity mindset and raise revenue to protect public services.
- Make permanent fixes to our broken, upside-down tax code by implementing bold, visionary solutions and not short-term incremental changes.
- Lead with equity by centering communities most impacted by COVID-19 and including them in decision-making processes.
- Provide immediate, impactful, and sustained relief in the form of direct cash assistance to families and bolster public services.
- Implement policy responses that are rooted in trust and dignity, not paternalism, by eliminating barriers to vital services and avoiding onerous application processes and work requirements designed to cut people off from the help they need.
Pandemic EBT Food Benefits for Kids
Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) is now available in Washington! P-EBT is a new one-time food benefit to help low-income families buy groceries because schools were closed due to COVID-19. ALL households with children in a K-12 school who were eligible for free or reduced-price school meals during the school year, OR who attended a school where meals are free for all students, are eligible for P-EBT.
If a child was eligible for free/reduced-price meals when schools closed, each child will receive $399 in P-EBT benefits (for example, if a family has 3 eligible children, they will receive $1,197 in food assistance). Benefits would be pro-rated if a family became eligible after schools closed.
P-EBT is for ALL eligible children, regardless of citizenship or immigration status. It is not subject to public charge and will not affect immigration status for a child or their family members, either in the U.S. or in another country.
There are two ways to get P-EBT benefits:
- If a child was eligible for free or reduced-price school meals and their family gets Basic Food benefits (SNAP/food stamps), they will get these one-time benefits on their EBT card automatically, beginning on June 28 through July 7 – whenever they normally get their benefits.
- If a child was eligible for free or reduced-price school meals and their family does not get Basic Food, families must complete a simple application via DSHS to get their P-EBT benefits. Families can apply online in Spanish or English at www.WashingtonConnection.org or call 877-501-2233 (interpretation is available) starting on June 30. The deadline to complete the application is August 31 at 5pm. The application is quick and simple!
Please spread the word, especially to your undocumented neighbors! Nearly 200,000 kids are eligible for Pandemic EBT, so help spread the word about this important and effective program for low-income families.