March 18, 2020
Action Alert Digest
Love and Nonviolence in the Time of Coronavirus

The COVID-19 pandemic has ground the world to a halt. How does this crisis sharpen our choice for a culture of active and life-giving nonviolence? Ken Butigan of Pace e Bene explains how this crisis is so global, so encompassing, so pervasively universal that it not only begs for an immediate and comprehensive response, it cracks open the possibility for a long-term cultural and planetary shift toward a more just, peaceful and sustainable order.  MORE
Peace Hasn’t Broken Out in Afghanistan

Last month, the United States and the Taliban signed a preliminary peace deal aimed at ending nearly 19 years of war in Afghanistan. The agreement calls for the US to gradually withdraw troops from the country over the next 14 months and for the Taliban and the Afghan government to open direct talks.  James Dobbins, Senior Fellow at the RAND Corporation, explains discusses how violence and division threaten the U.S.-Taliban deal.  MORE
Gun Sales Surge as Coronavirus Grips US

Gun sales throughout the country have surged as the coronavirus outbreak grips the U.S. Americans are flocking to gun stores and waiting in long lines as they worry about what’s to come in the next few months with society all but shut down.  Gun sales in the states most affected by the virus thus far, such as California, New York, and Washington, are particularly on the rise.  MORE
TAKE ACTION: Prevent a New Nuclear Arms Race

With the August 2 termination of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, the New START agreement is now the only treaty putting limits on the world’s two largest nuclear weapons arsenals—and it too is in jeopardy. Physicians for Social Responsibility invites us to tell Congress to support important legislation to restrict the possibility of an arms race with Russia.   TAKE ACTION
Future of U.S. Open Skies Participation Still to Be Determined

Defense Secretary Mark Esper has said that he is halting funding to replace the Pentagon’s aging aircraft used for flights under the Open Skies Treaty until the administration makes a final decision regarding the future of U.S. participation in the treaty. The Air Force was planning to seek $76 billion to continue replacement efforts for older aircraft, but the final request published in February did not include any ask for funding.  MORE
TAKE ACTION: Prioritize the Safety of All People, Regardless of Immigration Status

As the coronavirus continues to spread, undocumented families are put at higher risks of detention as they seek to care for themselves and their loved ones. Fear of deportation should NOT be a barrier to the well-being of our communities, especially right now. United We Dream urges us to sign a petition to President Trump to ensure all people, regardless of immigration status, have access to care and support to face the COVID-19 pandemic.  TAKE ACTION
Coronavirus Outbreak Likely at Immigrant Detention Center

Immigration attorneys working with immigrants at the Tacoma Northwest Detention Center in Washington State fear that an outbreak of the coronavirus at the detention facility “is inevitable.” When that occurs, the facility will not be equipped to respond. In addition, the detainees likely have poor nutrition and other health problems, which makes their immune systems weaker. On top of that, they are forced to live in close proximity to each other.  MORE   
Canada To Welcome 1 Million Immigrants Over Three Years Despite Fears of Recession

Canada is set to welcome more than 1 million new immigrants over the next three years, with an annual intake that could reach as high as 390,000 in 2022. Despite fears of a global recession due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Toronto-based immigration policy analyst Kareem El-Assal said the high immigration intake is justified with more than 9 million Canadians reaching retirement age in the next decade. MORE  
There's an Unlikely Beneficiary of Coronavirus: The Planet

Factories were shuttered and streets were cleared across China's Hubei province as authorities ordered residents to stay home to stop the spread of the coronavirus. It seems the lockdown had an unintended benefit -- blue skies. The average number of "good quality air days" increased 21.5% in February, compared to the same period last year, according to China's Ministry of Ecology and Environment.    MORE
Why Don’t We Treat Climate Change Like an Infectious Disease?

Countries around the world are beginning to react to the novel coronavirus with unprecedented speed in an attempt to curb its spread.  It’s a worldwide, planetary crisis. So why haven’t we seen this kind of sudden mobilization for human-caused climate change — another global catastrophe that has likely already claimed thousands of lives?  MORE
TAKE ACTION: Urge Congress to Protect Our Youth

Between 19 and 40 percent of homeless young people report being victimized by trafficking. The Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act expands upon services for these vulnerable young people with emergency services and opportunities to continue their education and move toward successful adulthood. Polaris urges us to tell Congress that you care about the trafficking of young people and urge them to lead on the way.  TAKE ACTION
Poverty Pushes Mothers to Sell Their Newborns in the Philippines

The illegal sale of newborn babies is widespread among women in the Philippines’ poorest communities. For many mothers living in poverty in the island nation, selling a baby is a painful but necessary reality to prevent the financial burden an unwanted pregnancy could bring—especially for those that already have several children. When a woman chooses to sell a baby, buyers—generally other Filipinos—pay between $100 and $500 for the child.  MORE
Allegations of Sexual Abuse Against UN Workers Up In 2019

The number of allegations against United Nations peacekeepers and civilian personnel increased to 80 in 2019 -- up from 56 the previous year, according to a report by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric says Guterres will continue to make tackling the issue of sexual abuse a priority.  MORE
Domestic Violence Cases Expected to Spike During Coronavirus Outbreak

Domestic violence shelters are expecting more calls for help during the coronavirus outbreak when most people are told to stay at home. "One of the worst things about this time period is isolation, and we don't want people living in isolation, especially if they are in a volatile relationship," said a domestic violence advocate. With no school, no daycare, and for many people, no jobs, volatile relationships could turn violent during a quarantine period.  MORE
TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress to Include Emergency Funds for Homelessness in COVID-19 Response

As Congress works to provide an emergency supplemental spending bill to aid communities during the coronavirus pandemic, they need to help an important population: people experiencing homelessness.  The National Alliance to End Homelessness urges us to tell Congress that it’s essential to provide funds to homelessness and housing programs during the COVID-19 pandemic.   TAKE ACTION
Senate Approves Coronavirus Bill for Sick Leave, Free Testing

The Senate approved a multibillion-dollar emergency aid package Wednesday that will provide paid sick and family leave for many Americans while also offering free testing for the coronavirus and bolstering unemployment insurance. Congress has already started working on a third stimulus package that is likely to address the needs of small businesses that are struggling due to the pandemic while also offering some type of cash assistance to Americans.  MORE
Judge Blocks Rule That Would Have Kicked 700,000 People Off SNAP 

A federal judge has issued an injunction blocking the Trump administration from implementing a rule change that would force nearly 700,000 Americans off of SNAP. The rule change was set to take effect on April 1. U.S. District Court Judge Beryl Howell called the rule change capricious, arbitrary and likely unlawful. In her ruling, Judge Howell cited concerns raised by the spread of coronavirus and its effect on the most vulnerable Americans. MORE

Tracy Lane Beatty is scheduled to be executed on March 25 by the state of Texas for the murder of Carolyn Click. Please hold Tracy, Carolyn, their families, and the people of Texas in prayer.  TAKE ACTION