NETWORK Calls on Congress to Meet the Needs of Vulnerable Communities

Tralonne Shorter
August 17, 2020

Last week, in light of the continuing health and economic damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic NETWORK sent the following message to all Senate offices. President Trump’s recent executive actions are not sufficient to meet the needs of our communities. We need Congressional action.

Dear Senator:

This past Saturday, President Trump signed a series of measures intended to partially revive unemployment measures, address an eviction ban, suspend collection of payroll tax and provide relief to student borrowers. These measures, however, fail to provide the relief that struggling families and small businesses need to survive the health and economic impacts of the growing COVID-19 pandemic. NETWORK calls on Congress to immediately pass bold legislation, like the HEROES Act, to stop the health crisis and address the pressing needs of vulnerable communities all across the U.S.

In counties and states across our country, the COVID-19 pandemic has indiscriminately brought communities to a precipice. Over 160,000 Americans have died from the virus and the United States still does not have a national testing and treatment strategy to slow the spread of the disease. The number of reported coronavirus cases in the United States surpassed 5 million last weekend, double the number since the end of June, as communities across the nation grapple with new spikes.

Meanwhile, the associated economic devastation continues to take a toll on workers and their families especially in Black and Brown communities. U.S. hiring slowed in July as the coronavirus outbreak worsened, and the government’s jobs report offered signs Friday that the economic damage from the pandemic could last far longer than many observers originally envisioned. The President’s executive actions do not provide adequate assistance to workers who have lost their jobs due to COVID. Nor will they stop the upcoming tide of evictions faced by one-third of American renters who according to a three-month national survey by the U.S. Census Bureau are expected to miss their August payment and stand to face eviction.

Our people deserve bold and comprehensive legislation designed to protect the health of all and stop the almost unparalleled economic devastation brought on by this pandemic. If the needs of the vulnerable are left to half-measures, Congress will sacrifice the well-being of millions for a generation. Now is not the time for indifference or denial.

The COVID-19 pandemic is a moral challenge and our nation’s response will reveal our values. This virus has exposed centuries old cracks in our society brought on by racial discrimination, structural inequities in access to health care, narrow work opportunities, and housing disparities experience by people of color. Congress must meaningfully begin to mend these gaps by targeting resources to communities most impacted.

Now is the time for Congress to get to work and pass legislation for the benefit of the common good.


Sister Simone Campbell, SSS
Executive Director
NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice