The urgency is clear: even with limited testing in Arizona, as of Saturday, March 28, the number of cases has risen from 27 to 773 in ten days. There have been 15 deaths in Arizona.
Join VIP Clergy and Leaders urging Governor Ducey to take life-saving action by signing below:
[Photo Credit: Cliff Hawkins, Getty Images via Arizona Mirror]
Dear Governor Ducey,
The clergy of Valley Interfaith Project, along with faith and congregational leaders throughout Arizona, implore you to issue a Stay-at-Home Order for Arizona. Our faith traditions teach us that human life has a value far beyond markets and other considerations. We also look to the medical science, which clearly states that early action is essential to stop the spread of COVID-19. Both our faith and the science tell us that the time for equivocation is long past.
You have already taken a number of courageous and difficult stands, including closing restaurants, bars, and gyms and issuing an eviction moratorium. Still, by themselves, these are not enough. The urgency is mounting by the hour. Please issue a life-saving stay-at-home order today.
GOVERNOR DUCEY, THE STAY-AT-HOME ORDER SAVES LIVES
Join clergy and leaders from across Arizona urging Governor Ducey to stay the course by signing the Arizona Interfaith Network petition below:
Dear Governor Ducey,
The clergy and leaders of the Arizona Interfaith Network along with faith and congregational leaders throughout Arizona, implore you to maintain your Stay-at-Home Order. We appreciate that this is a difficult calculation to make, as economic pressures mount. We supported this measure last month and still feel emphatically that a more cautious approach is warranted before “re-opening” the state. Your current order, which expires at month’s end, has and will save lives. We urge you to stay the course and extend the order.
We are first-hand witnesses to the economic trauma caused by the distancing measures that are in place. Our congregants are small business owners, gig workers, employees in entertainment, personal services, manufacturing, construction, and the knowledge economy. So many have lost jobs and fear foreclosure, eviction, and food insecurity. Faith institutions themselves have been battered by the stressed economy.
We are also spiritual home to those who are helping us resist and endure this dangerous threat: police, firefighters, EMTs, nurses, doctors and other medical personnel, grocery workers and many others. We recognize their work as essential to our well-being and are deeply grateful for the risks they take for all of us.
It is a false calculus that calls for tradeoffs between peoples’ lives and the markets in this dangerous moment. The economy should serve the common good and promote dignified, safe work, particularly for the most vulnerable. This a moral decision, not just a business decision. We must do all we can to save lives; life is irreplaceable. That said, we must make bold and determined commitments to ease the burdens that are the consequences of this need for isolation. This is the compassionate choice. We must choose to make sure all people have food and medical care, are safe from eviction from their homes and businesses, and will have sufficient funds to cover their bills until it is safe to go back to work. We must all commit ourselves to repairing and rebuilding our commonwealth. It, too, upholds our life.
There is not yet a clear and convincing, science-based case for easing up on the order in place. Strong testing programs and rigorous public health response systems have yet to emerge in widely accessible and equitable patterns. Our healthcare workers and front-line workers do not yet have the necessary protective equipment or workplace practices to sufficiently protect them.
The coronavirus will only be contained by broad testing and the application of our best public health measures. The disease will not cooperate with deadlines imposed by us. It will not respond to political calculations or wishful thinking, and neither should the state of Arizona.
PCI, VIP Clergy Help Advance Arizona's Stay-at-Home Order, Express Concern About Broad Definition of Essential Services
The governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy, Stay Connected” order still loosely defines essential businesses as golf courses, nail salons and gun shops. These employees would have to continue reporting to work, catering to non-essential needs, at great risk of contracting the virus and spreading it to others. That’s in no one’s interest....
COVID-19 Demands That We All Make Sacrifices for the Common Welfare, Arizona Mirror [pdf]
Ducey Orders Arizonians to Stay Home Except for 'Essential Activities' Due to Coronavirus, Arizona Daily Star [pdf]
Arizona Mayors to Gov. Ducey: Issue a Shelter-In-Place Order, AZ Family [pdf]
After the Covid-19 pandemic precipitated an economic crisis of historic proportions, the Industrial Areas Foundation launched a campaign calling on Congress to provide direct monthly aid for the duration of the crisis to American workers -- regardless of their citizenship.
While the recently passed $2.2 Trillion emergency stimulus will provide adults a one-time $1,200 check, it is set to leave out undocumented immigrants -- including those who pay taxes using a Tax Identification Number. IAF organizations across the West / Southwest IAF working with immigrant communities lay out the implications of this decision below:
Health care is a concern to both undocumented immigrants and legal residents.... Last August, the Trump administration tightened restrictions on legal immigrants who receive government benefits, referred to as 'public charges.' The new policy denies green cards to many immigrants who use Medicaid, food stamps and other benefits.
Immigrants in the Dallas area mask their symptoms so they can continue to work, according to Josephine López Paul, lead organizer with Dallas Area Interfaith.
“We’ve seen our service industries obliterated,” said Ms. López Paul. “Immigrants are being hit the hardest right now and there’s no safety net for them.”
When undocumented immigrants do approach hospitals, they quickly turn away if they see any law enforcement present, according to Ana Chavarin, lead organizer of Pima County Interfaith in Tucson, Ariz. Families are less afraid of the virus itself and more concerned with how they would pay for a long-term hospital visit, she said.
Ms. Chavarin has met with families who, not knowing how long the pandemic will last or when they will find work again, have begun rationing food. “Because they are undocumented, they cannot apply for any kind of help,” she said. Some have U.S. citizen children and could apply for benefits on their behalf, she said. But fear of deportation keeps many from doing so.
Food is the number one concern for pastors in Houston, according to Elizabeth Valdez, lead organizer for The Metropolitan Organization. Some parishes and congregations have started to purchase gift cards for food while others are collecting items for the church pantry. Local chapters of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul are gathering items, but since they often count on elderly volunteers, it has been a challenge.
Children cut off from school presents another challenge for low-income families. “The kids being home, [families] don’t always have the technology they need to keep up with school,” Ms. Valdez said.
“There has to be a way to get the money into the hands of service workers,” said Joe Rubio, director of the West/Southwest Industrial Area Foundation, a community organizing network. Pastors are seeing an increase in domestic violence, he said, likely stemming from frustration, economic pressure and children being home from school. Studies have found that immigrant survivors of domestic violence are unlikely to report abuse to law enforcement. Isolation and behavioral health issues have the potential to lead to an increase in suicide rates, he said.
“This could profoundly change the nature of parishes and congregations,” Mr. Rubio said, referring not only to the economic impact of the coronavirus but also how communities respond to those in need during the crisis. “We have to think about how we compensate those making the biggest sacrifices and how we ramp up the economy once it’s over.”
[Photo Credit: John Locher, AP Photo]