Open Letter To Congress: Save Gen C

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The following open letter to Congress was released on August 3, 2020 by over 10,000 parents, educators, medical professionals, thought leaders and concerned citizens.

We, the undersigned, call on Congress to pass a Rescue Plan for Gen C, the generation of children living through the COVID-19 crisis. 

If Congress fails to act quickly, a generation of kids — particularly Black, Brown and low-income children — could suffer irreparable, lifelong harm. Right now:

  • Millions of families are running out of money for food and rent. One sixth of kids don’t have enough to eat.
  • Anxiety, grief, social isolation, and food insecurity are contributing to a health crisis — both physical and mental — that will have long-term consequences for kids.
  • Tens of millions of children have been left behind by remote learning, because they lack devices, internet access, academic support, or an adult with the time and skills to help them learn. Because of longstanding systematic discrimination, Black and Latinx students are suffering the most, and may start the next school year almost a full year behind. The state and local budget crisis will make this worse, by forcing schools to slash teachers, counselors and other needed supports, with cuts falling hardest on the schools that can least afford them.
  • Our childcare system is on the verge of collapse, with 50% of childcare slots likely to disappear permanently by fall. Meanwhile, parents lucky enough to have jobs are being asked to do full-time work AND full-time childcare, putting both parents and kids in an impossible bind.
  • Kids’ lives and education have moved online. But the platforms they’re using aren’t designed to keep kids healthy or safe. One example: reports of online sexual exploitation have gone up by 4X since February.

For some, the pandemic has piled trauma on top of trauma. Because of racism in our economic and health care systems, Black and Latinx kids have been more likely to see parents lose jobs and relatives die. Against this backdrop, hundreds of thousands of young Americans have risen up to demand safety, dignity, and the protection of Black bodies. Yet even as our young people take to the streets, our government is allowing their families to run out of money and their schools to fail. Gen C has been abandoned.

As parents, teachers, caregivers and advocates, we cannot stand by and allow this to happen. We call on Congress to:

  • Give families ongoing support so that every child has a stable home and enough to eat.
  • Double down on education. Rather than forcing schools to make deep cuts, pour support into schools as the frontline to helping our kids navigate and survive this crisis, giving focus to making schools more equitable and ensuring children of color, low-income kids, and children with learning challenges don’t get left behind.
  • Provide emergency support to childcare programs and centers to make sure all families with babies and young children have safe, affordable care to return to — and pay childcare providers for the valuable work they do.
  • Make sure every child and family has access to healthcare — including free mental health support.
  • Demand tech companies design their platforms to support, not hurt, children.
  • Make sure these benefits are available to all families regardless of immigration status — and release the migrant families in detention who are threatened by COVID-19,
  • Support efforts to shift funding from police to social services — because Black and Brown children will not be safe until their bodies are safe from police violence.

We urge Congress to embrace these priorities and act with urgency. Children are suffering NOW. To be clear — we don’t just want to go back to a broken status quo. Because the system was already failing too many children. But the good news is, the steps that will get us out of this crisis — like supporting family incomes, strengthening schools and investing in childcare — are also the stepping stones to a brighter future for all kids.

This letter has been signed by over 10,000 parents, educators, medical professionals and concerned citizens, including:

*Organization listed for identification purposes only.

Adam & Shira McKay

Ai-jen Poo
Director
National Domestic Workers Alliance

Ailen Arreaza, Bethany Robertson and Justin Ruben
Deputy Director and Co-Directors
ParentsTogether Action

Alec Baldwin

Alysia Reiner

Brian Kettenring
Co-Executive Director
Center for Popular Democracy

Debra Messing

Dorian Warren
President
Community Change

Eli Pariser
Co-Director
Civic Signals*

Elizabeth Galicia
Vice President, Advocacy
Common Sense

Emma Ruby-Sachs
Executive Director
SumOfUs

Ilyasah Shabazz

Ilyse Hogue
President
NARAL Pro-Choice America

Jaya Chatterjee
Assistant Legislative Director
Service Employees International Union (SEIU)

John Jackson
President and CEO
Schott Foundation for Public Education*

Leah Greenberg
Co-Executive Director
Indivisible

Lily Eskelsen García
President
National Education Association

Matt Glickman and Gabe Hakim, Promise Ventures
Co-Founders
Promise Ventures

Maya Soetoro
Peace Educator, Consultant
Obama Foundation

Moe Mitchell
National Director
Working Families Party

Natalie Foster
co-chair and co-founder
Economic Security Project

Nicole Boxer

Nina Perez and Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner
National Early Education and Care Campaign Director and Executive Director / CEO
MomsRising

Patricia Arquette

Rahna Epting
Executive Director
MoveOn

Sanjeev Sriram
Dr. America

Shaunna Thomas
Executive Director
UltraViolet

Sophia Bush

Tabitha St. Bernard-Jacobs
Director of Community Engagement
Women’s March

Tisha Campell

Yvette Nicole Brown

Deepak Bhargava
Distinguished Lecturer
CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies*

Jennifer Ching
Executive Director
North Star Fund

Judy Conti
Government Affairs Director
National Employment Law Project

Philip Fisher
Professor and Director
Center for Translational Neuroscience, University of Oregon

Ana Flores
CEO
#WeAllGrow Latina*

Fatima Goss Graves
President & CEO
National Women’s Law Center

Myra Jones-Taylor
Chief Policy Officer
ZERO TO THREE

Dan Leeds & Elizabeth Sullivan
Project Directors
Education Champions

Hassan Hassan
CEO
4.0 Schools

Stacy Kono
Executive Director
Hand in Hand: The Domestic Employers Network*

Alex Lawson
Executive Director
Social Security Works

Veronika Geronimo
Founder and Executive Director
Revolution English

Talia Milgrom-Elcott
Executive Director and Founder
100Kin10*

Angela Peoples
Director
Black Womxn For*

Angelica Salas
Executive Director
Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA)

LaShawn Warren
Executive Vice President of Government Affairs
The Leadership Conference*

Lauren Windsor
Executive Director
American Family Voices

Deidre Anderson
CEO
United Inner City Services*

Steph Amaya Mora
Digital Community Organizer
Project Pulso*

Dr. Kira Banks
Raising Equity

Blue Carreker
Statewide Campaigns Manager, Gender and Worker Justice
Citizen Action of New York*

Carol Burnett
Executive Director
Mississippi Low Income Child Care Initiative

Doyle Canning
Co-founder
Center for story-based strategy*

Amy Cohen
Organizing Director
Hand in Hand: the Domestic Employers Network

Julia Cohen
Co-Founder and Managing Director
Plastic Pollution Coalition*

Stosh Cotler
CEO
Bend the Arc: Jewish Action

Angelica Gonzalez Apple
Program Manager
Global Catholic Climate Movement

Sherylls Kahn
Director
School Readiness Consulting

Firuzeh Mahmoudi
Director
United for Iran

Susan McPherson
Founder and CEO
McPherson Strategies*

Jumesha Wade
Director of Education & Family Engagement
Start at Zero

Yolanda Williams and Susana Salgado
Community Organizing and Family Issues
POWER PAC*

Wendy Cole
Director
Maple Street School*

Angela DeWilde
Executive Director
Start at Zero*

Margaretha Finefrock
CLO
The Learning Project

Dahlia Goldenberg
The Women’s Organizing Network

Evie Hantzopoulos
Executive Director
Global Kids

Elle Hogan
Director of Community Engagement
Turn the Page KC*

Amie Rakosky Hood
Director
Breastfeeding USA

Meetali Jain
Legal Director
Avaaz*

Julie Kashen
Director, Women’s Economic Justice
The Century Foundation*

Liz Kaufman
Director
TRACE Collective

Susan Lob
NYC Gender Justice Task Force*

Marina Marcou-O’Malley
Alliance for Quality Education*

Elizabeth Pope
Program Officer
Davis Educational Foundation*

Tiffany Price
Founder
Hold Em Up 4 Care

Julie Schwietert Collazo
Co-founder and director
Immigrant Families Together*

Eva Stahl
Associate Director of Policy
Community Catalyst

Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman
President
New Media Ventures*

Tom Swan
Executive Director
CCAG

C Udell
Executive Director
Utah Moms for Clean Air

Erika Washington
Executive Director
Make It Work Nevada*

Julia Wendt
Officer of Early Learning
Kansas City Public Schools*

Annie Weinberg
Founder
Amw strategies

Ashley Williamson
Community Engagement Manager
Women’s Employment Network*

Lina Acosta Sandaal
Owner/Founder
Stop Parenting Alone*

Lauren Blair, MD

Michelle Bufford
Shopping In Solidarity Cleveland*

Laralyn Bergstedt
Science Teacher

Kelly Cantwell
HR Coordinator
Jewish Community Center (Milwaukee)*

Andrea Clayton Jones
Kindergarten Teacher

Jodie Cold
Teacher

Daniela Cusack
Colorado State University*

Allison Danton
Firefighter
CFD

Laurel DiGianni
NYC DOE*

Danielle Dunn
Teacher

Eris Eady
Producer
Venia Media LLC

Crystal Fegenbush
Owner and Therapist
Solid Foundation Couple and Individual Therapy PLLC

Yolie Flores
Fellow
The Broad Academy*

Melanie Goldberg
Parent and teacher
NYC DOE*

Apollo Gonzales
Digital Grassroots Engagement Director

Christopher Hays
Professor
Fuller Theological Seminary

lison Hirsh

Vijay Jain, MD
Mindbodywellnessflorida.com

Rev. Kathleen Koprowski

Allison Krasnow
8th Grade Math Teacher
Berkeley Unified School District*

Mark Logan
Founder
idealect*

Sally Lyon
Our Gifted Online Community*

Mary Madden
Youth + Technology Researcher

Joshua Mandelbaum
826NYC*

Dr. Nancy Matus

Dr. Shannon May

Stacy McCarthy
Council Member
Coastside Families Taking Action*

Melissa McGrath
Teacher
Crossroads Academy Central Street*

Maria Elena Meraz
CEO
Parent Engagement Academy*

Heidi Ragsdale
STEM Educator Advocate

Lisa Raymond-Tolan
School-based Occupational Therapist

Rev. Tracey Robinson-Harris
First Parish in Framingham, MA*

Stephanie Roth
Consultant
Klein & Roth Consulting*

Carol Rothman
Kehilla Synagogue*

Eva Ruiz
Executive Director
Mi Casita*

Laura Ruiz
Teacher

Sarah Rydecki
MI Public School Teacher

Jennifer Sandau
Teacher

Miriam Sicherman
Teacher
NYC Department of Education*

Michael Skolnik & Paola Mendoza
Soze Agency

Jacob Stein

Laura Tanenbaum
Professor
City University of New York*

Maria Tchijov
VP of Advocacy & Membership
UltraViolet

Jeana Van Sickle
Business Owner
JVS Consulting, LLC

Reverend Doctor Elizabeth Strong

Janna Wagner

Annie Watson
Senior Associate
School Readiness Consulting

Paulette Welch
OTD, MAED, BSOT

Dr. Sarah Wise

Thelma Wong
School Readiness Consulting

Laura Dawn & Daron Murphy
Founders
ART NOT WAR

Kim Yaged

Courtney Zollinger
Paché Montessori*