Statement by NOW President Toni Van Pelt; Posted 3/25/2020

Dear NOW Activists: 

As I wrote to you last week, the coronavirus crisis is making our ability to maintain lines of communications more important than ever.  NOW is a vibrant, activist, engaged community that sustains and strengthens us when we need each other most.  And we’ve never needed that unity more than we do today. 

We may be practicing social distancing, but we’re not consigned to total isolation.  We still have each other—even if we can’t meet face to face.   That’s why I’ve begun these weekly emails to share with you some of the conversations we’re having at NOW, and also some clips from the news that have caught my attention.   

The COVID-19 epidemic is having a devastating impact on every segment of society, with women among the most vulnerable.   For example, the Guttmacher Institute has studied the impact of the virus on sexual and reproductive health and rights,  and Ms. Magazine has reprinted a story from the National Women’s Law Center on what women and working families need to face COVID-19. 

I also read with great interest Elizabeth Warren’s bold plan to confront the spread of coronavirus and take decisive action to shore up the economy in ways that directly help women and families first—and not the billionaires and corporate giants who have Donald Trump’s ear. 

And here’s a podcast from the Urban Institute on the economic impact of the pandemic and some creative solutions we can get started on today. 

Finally, here’s a video from Speaker Nancy Pelosi on the Democrats’ coronavirus stimulus plan.   

National NOW has also started compiling resources for our chapters, members and supporters including: 

NOW is an integral partner and leader in numerous coalitions and we are proud to join with our sister organizations in letters and petitions that seek to ensure all COVID-19 funding is appropriately distributed to communities most struggling because of this pandemic. This includes our recent participation in this letter, which calls on Congress to oppose provisions in S. 3548, the CARES Act. This bill, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, denies critical sustaining loans to nonprofits. Specifically, provisions in the bill exclude nonprofits that provide Medicaid-reimbursed services and establishes caps. These organizations are providing essential services to people in their communities, particularly those most vulnerable to COVID-19. And now the demand for services is drastically increased while they are also losing money due to public health emergency measures. This bill must not be allowed to proceed with these exclusions.  

NOW also encourages you to join our partner organizations in upcoming webinars: 

We are all learning new coping skills and facing challenges we never could have anticipated, and sharing ideas and perspectives can help us not only cope from day to day but emerge from this crisis stronger than ever. 

Please take good care of yourself and your loved ones in the days ahead.   I’ll talk to you again next week.  I’ll also be giving you an update on the status of our planning for the next NOW conference.