Congress Must Protect Most Vulnerable Communities in COVID-19 Response

112 groups outline health and economic security priorities

Contact: Shin Inouye, [email protected], 202.869.0398

WASHINGTON – The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, along with 111 organizations called on Congress to enact policies, and provide sufficient funding, to meet the urgent needs of the most vulnerable people in our nation. Failing to do so risks more lives lost and a future where the American promise is even more elusive for marginalized communities.

The groups wrote, “Communities that have already been marginalized by structural barriers to equal opportunities and who have low levels of wealth are particularly vulnerable during this current emergency. While many working people have been sidelined, many others are still providing essential services during the crisis – working at our grocery stores, delivering mail and packages, and providing care to vulnerable people – putting their lives at risk, often at reduced hours and wages, to keep our country running. The ongoing crisis has laid bare the structural racism and barriers to opportunity that are entrenched in our society, and our collective actions now must not worsen them.”

“As our nation and world continue to face this unprecedented crisis, one that involves uncertainties over not only economics and policy but also science, we stand ready to work with you. We will ultimately get through this, but we must ensure that the remedies and the recovery truly work for all of the communities that we represent – and leave us all in a better place. Our proposals are vital to that end, and we greatly appreciate your consideration of them as Congress continues to navigate this terrible pandemic in the coming weeks and months,” the organizations said.

The groups outlined key principles and policy proposals for Congress to consider as it continues to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic downturn that will follow this public health crisis. They include:

  • Ensuring access to quality health care for all people in America, including targeted relief for those most impacted;
  • Protecting the livelihoods of the most vulnerable working people in our nation;
  • Keeping people in homes, safeguarding their financial health, and protecting people who are homeless;
  • Providing assistance with basic living standards;
  • Stimulating the economy and investing in our future.

The letter is available here and is signed by the following groups:

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
African American Ministers In Action
Alianza Nacional de Campesinas
America’s Voice
American Association of People with Disabilities
American Association of University Women (AAUW)
Americans for Democratic Action (ADA)
Andrew Goodman Foundation
Arab American Institute (AAI)
Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO
Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence
Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council
Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations
Autistic Self Advocacy Network
Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law
Center for Disability Rights
Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP)
Center for Popular Democracy
Center for Responsible Lending
Children’s Defense Fund
Coalition for Disability Health Equity
Coalition on Human Needs
Community Change Action
Congregation of Our Lady of the Good Shepherd, U.S. Provinces
Defending Rights & Dissent
Disciples Center for Public Witness
Disciples Refugee & Immigration Ministries
Equal Justice Society
Equal Rights Advocates
Equality Labs
Fair Count, Inc.
Family Equality
Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies (FPWA)
Health Care Voter
Hip Hop Caucus
Hispanic Federation
Housing Choice Partners
Human Impact Partners
Human Rights Campaign
Human Rights Watch
Impact Fund
Japanese American Citizens League
Justice for Migrant Women
Justice in Aging
Labor Council for Latin American Advancement
LatinoJustice PRLDEF
Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)
League of Women Voters of the United States
Legal Aid at Work
Let America Vote / End Citizens United Action Fund
Matthew Shepard Foundation
Missionary Oblates
Montgomery County (MD) Civil Rights Coalition
Muslim Caucus Education Collective
Muslim Public Affairs Council
NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.
National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd
National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities
National Association of Human Rights Workers
National Association of Social Workers
National Bar Association
National Center for Transgender Equality
National Center for Youth Law
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
National Consumer Law Center (on behalf of its low-income clients)
National Council of Churches
National Council of Jewish Women
National Disability Rights Network
National Education Association
National Employment Law Project
National Fair Housing Alliance
National Health Law Program
National Immigration Law Center
National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice
National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund
National Low Income Housing Coalition
National Organization for Women
National Partnership for Women & Families
National Urban League
National Women’s Law Center
National Workrights Institute
NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice
OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates
People For the American Way
PFLAG National
Poligon Education Fund
Poverty & Race Research Action Council
Pride at Work
Prison Policy Initiative
Public Advocacy for Kids (PAK)
Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF)
Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC)
SPLC Action Fund
Take on Wall Street
TASH, Inc.
Tax March
Transformative Justice Coalition
Ujima Inc: The National Center on Violence Against Women in the Black Community
Union for Reform Judaism
United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries
United Mine Workers of America
United We Dream
Voices for Progress
Voto Latino
Workplace Fairness
Yemeni American Merchant Association

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 220 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its member organizations, visit