PJC staff and pets, from top left, Willow, Leo, Kina , Gavin, Rachel, Aris, Sookie, Klaus, and Amy
Things are changing so rapidly it is hard to keep up. Just two weeks ago we thought we might still host the Peace & Justice Center’s Annual Award Celebration! That seems far removed now. While the pandemic has changed the work we are doing, the mission remains relevant. We are writing with some updates and a request.
First off, the search for a new Executive Director has been put on hold. I want to see this organization through this storm. It would feel terrible to leave the staff I work with at this time.
Second, the federal government is working on a bill that is expected to give $1,200 directly to each person or $3,000 per family of four. For some people this money will be helpful in providing for themselves and their families, but nowhere near enough to sustain them long-term. For others with class privilege who are financially secure, this money won’t be as meaningful. I want to ask those of you with class privilege to pledge the money coming directly to you through the federal government, as part of the stimulus bill, to worthy causes.
Can you pledge to give all or some of that money away? If you have wealth/class privilege, please consider all the small nonprofits that are struggling to keep people employed. We hope that you will consider the Peace & Justice Center as one of these important causes. We want to remain viable when the chaos of this pandemic passes. And it will pass.
Lastly, here is an update on our efforts and status. We continue to work hard, from our homes, and our work remains relevant. Here is some of what we are doing:
- We compile and share information and actionable items through our e-news and on Facebook (please follow us if you are not already @pjcvermont).
- Community Voices for Immigrant Rights is working as hard as ever and we continue to play a significant role in that work. The next meeting is March 30, 6pm. Click here to register and join the call.
- We keep a page that lists Mutual Aid networks for communities throughout the state, These systems create opportunities for people to request rsupport and others with resources or time to give to support them. Please check it out here and consider getting involved. If you know of other mutual aid efforts, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll add them to the page.
- We shifted some of our programming to online platforms starting with Fair Trade 101: Racism and Global Trade. Tune in on Saturday to be part of that.
So far, I have taken a 50% pay cut and the other four staff members are receiving full compensation. We hope to be able to keep this up. It costs us about $20,000 a month to keep up with payroll, rent, and basic monthly costs. We currently have enough money to stay operational until mid-May. All donations at this time will help us stay afloat beyond then.
Thanks for anything you can do:
- offer mutual aid in your community,
- pass your government allocation to someone or something that will benefit from it more than you, and/or
- stay home and keep the community safe.
I hope you can find some joy in these hard times. Let’s all hope and work for massive system change coming out the other end of this including universal health care, paid sick leave, minimum wage increases, and more.