Amplify Values In These Emerging Issues
Covid-19 in the White House Spotlights Health Care Disparities
This week, President Trump and at least a dozen top administration officials contracted Covid-19, a predictable outcome of the disregard the administration has paid the pandemic that has killed 211,000 American lives. The president spent three nights at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, and he continues to receive world class taxpayer-provided health care at the White House. Even after contracting Covid-19 himself, he is downplaying its seriousness. He is specifically endangering White House support staff: cleaners, cooks, valets and Secret Service agents. These nonpolitical workers are forced to be in close proximity to the infected White House staff. The administration has stopped reporting how many of these anonymous workers have been infected, and the District of Columbia is now seeing its first serious spike in cases in months. The strong Covid measures of D.C.'s mayor and health department do not apply to the Federal properties spawning these high-profile cases.
Meanwhile, millions of Americans cannot afford health care. Many fear a single visit to the doctor will bring bills for tests and treatments they will have to weigh against rent and groceries in their budget. These struggles are disproportionately higher among low-income populations and communities of color — the very groups most likely to avoid seeing a doctor until it is too late for fear of cost. Rather than address this inequity, Trump continues to pursue an end to the Affordable Care Act (ACA, also known as Obamacare) in the Supreme Court, an outcome made more likely by the recent death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
The shape of the economy — with an increasing number of layoffs considered permanent — is putting health care out of reach for even more Americans. Local measures, like those New York Mayor Bill De Blasio recently signed to expand paid sick leave, protect small businesses and hospitality workers will help, but they can only do so much. Yesterday, Trump ended negotiations with Democrats on a much-needed stimulus bill.
Despite all of this grim and infuriating news, The Opportunity Agenda and its partners continue to advocate for solutions using values-based messaging. Read below for talking points, messaging guidance, and more.
Resources: The Opportunity Agenda's tips for Talking About COVID-19 and Three Pillars for Talking About Poverty and Economic Opportunity; Paid Leave and Childcare Policies are the Key to Our Recovery (Family Values at Work); Do's and Dont's for Coronavirus Relief Package (Tax March); Not This Time — Watch Out for Wall Street in a Pandemic (inequality.org); Urgent Policy Needs to Support Small Businesses (Main Street Alliance); A Coronavirus Recovery Demands Substantial, Durable Aid for State and Local Governments (Center for American Progress); It's Time to Rethink Those Tax Cuts (Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy);
Upcoming Media Hooks & Events
October is See Us, Support Us Month, which raises awareness and amplifies the voices of children with incarcerated parents.
- October 2: International Wrongful Conviction Day
- October 4: National Diversity Day
- October 3-11: National Week of Action Against School Pushout
- October 4-10: Mental Illness Awareness Week
- October 10: World Day Against the Death Penalty
- October 11: National Coming Out Day
- October 14: Indigenous Peoples Day
- October 16: World Food Day
- October 17: International Day for the Eradication of Poverty and World Values Day, an opportunity to think and act on our most deeply held values.
Birthdays and Anniversaries:
- October 3, 2008: President George W. Bush signed the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, otherwise known as the big bank bailout.
- October 6, 1917: Birthday of women's rights and civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer
- October 8, 2001: The Department of Homeland Security was created less than a month after the September 11 attacks on New York and the Pentagon. The restructuring put Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in a national security framework rather than a civic one.
- October 13, 1792: the cornerstone of the White House was laid — a landmark built with slave labor.
- October 15, 2016: The #MeToo movement exploded online, sparking a national conversation about sexual assault and harassment.
- October 15, 1966: The Black Panther Party for Self Defense was founded to seek justice for African Americans and other oppressed communities.
- October 16, 1968: African-American medalists Tommie Smith and John Carlos gave a Black Power salute at the Summer Olympics in Mexico City.
- October 18, 1972: The Clean Water Act became law after Congress overrode President Richard Nixon's veto.
- October 18, 1587: The first Filipino immigrants arrived in what would become the United States
- October 19, 1870: The first African-Americans were elected to the House of Representatives