This is an extraordinarily difficult time. We are living through a pandemic, facing the ongoing effects of structural racism, and fearing for the integrity of our upcoming elections.
With so many challenges ahead of us, it is important not to lose heart and to find consolation in our shared work. At MPHA we are working hard to focus on the opportunities of this moment and to work collectively with our partners for change. Here is some of what we are doing:
The legislative session was set to end on July 31, but has been extended in recognition of the pandemic and the need for action on many critical pieces of legislation. While August has been quiet so far, several of our priority bills are likely to be taken up again in the fall. These include the housing stability bill, police accountability measures, and two immigrant safety bills.
This week, we ask you to take action to support the Massachusetts Food Trust Program. This critical program increases access to healthy food in our communities at a time when the need is skyrocketing, helps small retailers stay afloat, and supports our state's agricultural economy. The House version of the Economic Development Bond Bill included $4 million for the Food Trust Program, but the Senate version did not. Please contact conference committee cochairs Senator Eric Lesser at 617-722-1291 or firstname.lastname@example.org and Rep. Aaron Michlewitz at (617) 722-2990 or email@example.com and ask them to support a $4m authorization for the MA Food Trust Program in the final Economic Development Bond Bill.
Equity Task Force
The Task Force on Coronavirus and Equity recently formed two action teams - one focused on an equitable reopening and recovery and the other calling for the state to take a progressive approach to creating the fiscal year '21 budget.
The Equitable Reopening Action Team is continuing to call on the Baker administration to collect and report complete data to inform decision making, enforce protections for workers, and provide a seat at the table for those who have been most impacted by the pandemic. We are also listening to the voices of teachers and parents raising concerns about school reopening plans.
The Progressive Revenue Action Team is working to ensure that large corporations and their wealthy shareholders pay their fair share to support our state's recovery and invest in public services that improve public health, grow the economy, and reduce racial inequality. We are teaming up with Raise Up Massachusetts to host a training session on progressive revenue at our next Equity Task Force meeting on Thursday, August 20 from 11:00 - 12:30pm. If you are interested in attending, please clickhere to register. Please also share this with those in your network who may be interested in this opportunity.
Local Public Health
The pandemic has made visible the fractured and inefficient local public health system in our state. MPHA and our allies in the Coalition for Local Public Health continue to support wholesale improvement of this system. Most recently, we sent letters from municipal officialsand local public health leaders to the Governor and his administration demonstrating the broad level of support for creating a 21st century public health system. We are grateful for your past support of this critical work, and we will keep you updated as future action is needed.
With gratitude for all you do to advance health equity,