As religious leaders and organizations who represent tens of thousands of people and the communities hardest hit by the coronavirus outbreak, we urge you to take swift and coordinated action to eliminate gaping racial disparities in prevention, testing, treatment, and financial supports provided to Hoosier families and urge the U.S. Congress to do the same.
Our diverse religious traditions call us to care for most vulnerable ‘to give food to the hungry, set the prisoner free, watch over the foreigner, sustain the widow’ (Psalm 82, Isaiah 11, Deuteronomy 15). In Indianapolis, African Americans are twice as likely to die as whites from coronavirus. Public health officials in St. Joseph County report Hispanics are getting sick 5 times faster than whites. Prisons and jails are virus hotspots, accelerating the spread to people trapped inside, workers, and the surrounding communities. For example, 92% of inmate’s in Indiana’s Westville Correctional Facility tested positive for COVID-19 in late April. The pandemic will only exacerbate existing racial and economic disparities, unless bold public leadership is taken now.
With a $2.3 billion state budget surplus, billions already received from the federal government, and more on the way, Indiana has enough to protect and care for everyone, no exceptions. Numerous Statewide Organizations support our comprehensive Indiana Cares Platform. As diverse faith and spiritual leaders, public school employees, healthcare providers, essential workers, and residents of Indiana we need your leadership and petition you to take these immediate steps which are within your power as our executive leader:
We recognize this public health and humanitarian crisis also calls for bold and moral leadership from the U.S. Congress to support states like Indiana to provide protection, care, and support to everyone. With Congress expected to vote on the fourth economic relief bill as early as next Tuesday, we invite you to add your voice to ours and encourage Indiana’s congressional delegation pass a bill that includes our racial equity policy priorities. You can read the full details at this link. We’d like to highlight these specific priorities;
We thank you for the leadership you have already demonstrated during this unprecedented time. We recognize these proposals align with the principles laid out in the ‘Back on Track' Indiana plan released earlier this month. We also understand that without strategies targeted at the communities hardest hit by COVID19, the health of all Hoosiers is at risk.
We would like to schedule a ‘virtual meeting’ with prominent clergy affiliated with Faith in Indiana, and our community partners to discuss these proposals in more details with you and your staff team. We look forward to working closely with you over the coming weeks to protect and care for of us. Our lives depend on it.
Faith in Indiana 212 W. 10th St., Suite F-175 Indianapolis, IN 46202 317-759-3370