Highlights of Metro IAF’s organizing over the last 3 months during the Covid-19 pandemic include:
- Conceiving and securing an agreement with NY Governor Cuomo to open walk-in Covid-19 community testing sites at 75 churches across New York City, where until now there were none even though most residents do not own cars; supported Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church to open the first community-based test site in Baltimore; Organizing a team of Community Health Volunteers, who in partnership with the Milwaukee Health Department, will be making daily calls to Covid positive people to determine the next steps in possible medical treatment.
- Holding 3M accountable for N95 mask price gouging that affects frontline healthcare and other workers in our institutions in Maryland, Illinois, Virginia, Ohio, Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, organizing 20 states attorneys general and 3M shareholders with $13+ billion under management to secure changes in 3M’s distribution and pricing practices; See op-ed on 3M in the largest suburban paper in IL: Price gouging on needed equipment must be stopped.
- Pushing Massachusetts Governor Baker to sign some of strongest eviction prevention legislation in the US, securing $25 million to protect renters from eviction in Wake County, NC, working with the Virginia Attorney General to compel landlords in Northern Virginia to abide by pandemic crisis eviction restrictions, and organizing immigrant mobile home park and public housing tenants in Wake, Orange, and Durham Counties, NC to hold owners accountable for predatory rents/fees and housing code violations;
- Winning commitments from New Jersey Governor Murphy and Massachusetts Governor Baker for universal testing in state prisons, preserving funding in Virginia's 2021 budget to restore drivers licenses to 627,000 residents who had them suspended due to unpaid court debt, fees, and fines as well as the first-ever public defenders' office in Prince William County, Virginia’s third largest and only majority people of color county; and securing early release of non-violent prisoners from jails in Durham County, NC to protect them from Covid-19 infection;
- Partnering with Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and restaurants in Anne Arundel County, to feed thousands of children and families in central Maryland;
- Winning Milwaukee public schools' commitment to provide online learning and 30.000 Chromebooks to students (for six weeks MPS provided no virtual learning), pushing the NY City Housing Authority to provide internet access to 35% of residents with school-age children and their families who lack it, adding and then preserving $52.7 million in new funding for Jersey City, NJ's poorest public schools, and fighting for funding for interpreters and other services for Latino students in schools districts in Durham and Forsythe Counties, North Carolina;
- Training 350+ institutional leaders with the Community Purchasing Alliance Cooperative (CPA), Metro IAF’s social business venture, on how to use social media, raise money, and manage finances/cut expenses during the pandemic. Organized 150 institutions (schools, houses of worship, non-profits, colleges) with CPA in IL, MA, CT, MD/DC in collective, competitive energy purchase to save money.