An Update from the PACT Executive Committee
It is with heavy hearts and deep love for our community that have chosen to cancel this year’s Nehemiah Action Assembly due to COVID-19. As an organization is it our mission to better the lives of everyone in ourcommunity, particularly those people who are the most vulnerable or marginalized. It is for that same reason that we are choosing to cancel—not postpone—the Nehemiah Assembly. Originally we announced that we would reschedule the assembly to May 11th, but with further developments, we realize that we do not know how long this public health crisis will last, and we do not want to run the risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus.
For the first time in PACT’s 32 year history, there will be no Nehemiah Action this year.
The stories our members shared in house meetings, as well as those we’ve heard throughout our research process, have shown us that the need for justice in our community is great. COVID-19 is simply highlighting what we already know: our systems are stacked against the most vulnerable in our community. Those who are marginalized in our community who will feel the effects of COVID-19 the most deeply:
- A quarter of a million people in our county lack local identification, especially the ederly, and may experience barriers to receiving health care or may be afraid to approach local institutions for help.
- 130,000+ families in Miami-Dade County who are housing-insecure and severely cost-burdened are at great risk because low-quality housing is one of the biggest dangers to a person’s health. Families who are cost-burdened by their housing are less likely to be able to afford quality medical care or time off of work due to quarantine.
- The loss of jobs and economic opportunity, plus rising tensions in already vulnerable neighborhoods, may impede efforts to curb gun violence amongst street groups.
- Incarcerated persons will not have the liberty to practice the “social distancing” necessary to stop the spread of the virus and may soon get sick.
We know that the need for justice in our community will only increase after COVID-19 has run its course. As an organization we will continue to listen and fight for systemic changes in our community. However, for the next few weeks, these important practices will look different than usual. For the foreseeable future, all of our events and meetings will be held online or over the phone and our staff will be working from home. We will share actionable items you can do from your homes to advance justice in our community. More details are forthcoming, so please keep an eye on your email, our website, our Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram for ways to engage virtually with us and to stay updated on our issue work.
We know that this pandemic is already having an economic impact and that this will only worsen as the weeks go on. In turn, this may have an impact on PACT’s ability to raise funds and meet our operating budget through our congregation drive, corporate drive, and grants. Ordinarily during this time, in the few months between the Nehemiah Action and the Celebration, we would raise 50-75% of all of the personal investments that we would receive in a year. For any of us who are less vulnerable to the economic impacts of this crisis, we ask that you prayerfully consider making an investment to help our work continue.
All of our faith traditions remind us to love our neighbors as ourselves. Right now, the best way we can care for ourselves and love our neighbors is to stay home. We are sending prayers for good health to you and yours.
Rev. Laurinda Hafner, PACT President
Fr. Juan Sosa, VP of Membership Strengthening
Rev. Willifred Allen-Faiella, VP of Membership Growth
Kim Roy, VP of Personnel
Rachel Unger, VP of Media/PR
Patricia Salahuddin, Secretary
Afrah Hamin, Treasurer
Steven Horsford, Housing Committee Chair
Maria Margarita Irizarry, Immigration Committee Rep.
Rev. Ana Jackson, Gun Violence Committee Rep.