ERC Update: We Want to Hear from You
March 31, 2020
To our members:
It has been a challenging month! At the ERC, we pivoted to an almost exclusively remote work set-up to do our part to help flatten the curve. We are taking some time now to figure out how we apply our strategic focus—civil rights testing—to the concerning civil rights issues that arise in relation to the pandemic or the response to it. While much is uncertain, we remain committed to our mission.
Over the last few weeks, as the news has spread about Covid-19, I can’t help but reflect on my time living and working on similar issues in post-Katrina New Orleans. Prior to August 2005, most couldn’t have imagined the level of devastation Hurricane Katrina and its manmade aftermath would bring. While this pandemic is very different from a hurricane, many of the problems of exploitation and injustice that arise in the midst of disaster are predictable.
Our belief that civil rights matter now more than ever is crucial.
As we watch hot spots from the virus spread, we know there will be hot spots of discrimination that pop up in relation to this pandemic.
We are already hearing stories of discrimination, and we know that not everyone has the same privileges in how they experience this pandemic. For many workers, and especially Black and Hispanic workers, working from home is not an option. For non-English speaking communities, there is concern about how and when information about the virus is being shared. For people experiencing domestic violence, “Stay Home, Stay Safe” orders create their own dangers. For people with disabilities, there is concern about receiving the same care as people without disabilities. We want you to know that we are monitoring these issues closely. But we also need to hear from you.
Our intake line is open. Have you experienced discrimination related to Covid-19? Do you have ideas for civil rights testing projects? We want to hear from you. You can call us at 202-234-3062 or send us an email.
I bring my past experiences forward now to help frame how we at the ERC will move forward. We need your continued support to ensure progress in making our communities, and this country, a more equitable place for everyone.
We hope that you and your loved ones stay safe and healthy during these uncertain times.
Interim Executive Director
The Equal Rights Center (ERC) — a national non-profit organization — is a civil rights organization that identifies and seeks to eliminate unlawful and unfair discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations in its home community of Greater Washington DC and nationwide. The ERC’s core strategy for identifying unlawful and unfair discrimination is civil rights testing. When the ERC identifies discrimination, it seeks to eliminate it through the use of testing data to educate the public and business community, support policy advocacy, conduct compliance testing and training, and, if necessary, take enforcement action. For more information, please visit www.equalrightscenter.org.