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Joint statement on COVID-19 crisis from Indianapolis organizers

As residents and organizers in the city of Indianapolis, we are calling on Governor Eric Holcomb and Mayor Joe Hogsett to honor these listed demands in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately we cannot rely on the federal government to act. Their failure to take action to contain the virus by using available WHO tests, while spreading misinformation about the severity of the outbreak, has actively worsened this crisis. Now people across the country are suffering the effects of this mismanagement. As a global community, we have a responsibility to care for each other in these uncertain times, and call upon our elected leadership to work efficiently towards the following: 

  • Enact a total waiver on rent, mortgage, utility, debt, and loan payments (such as car notes, credit cards, etc.) for the duration of the crisis
  • Issue Free Food vouchers to residents of Indiana and end work requirements for SNAP benefits
  • Use eminent domain to house people experiencing homelessness and people in overcrowded households in existing vacant housing units in good condition
  • Petition the federal government to expand unemployment benefits beyond 26 weeks for those who need additional support
  • Continue to provide meals to public school students, expand meal programs to include families of public school students, and call upon universities or schools that close residence halls to provide alternative housing, food, and healthcare
  • Release medically fragile and older adults from jail and prison, release people with short sentences and those whose sentences are nearly complete, release those who are held pre-trial for low level offenses, stop charging medical co-pays to those who are incarcerated, increase availability of testing to prisons and jails, provide immediate healthcare for anyone showing flu-like symptoms and create social distancing strategies for those living in close quarters
  • Immediately prohibit any cooperation between Indiana State Police, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, Indiana Department of Corrections, and ICE — including honoring ICE detainers, providing names and release dates to ICE, and using state or local facilities as ICE detention centers
  • Expand the state’s Medicaid program to cover COVID-19 testing and treatment in full for all affected residents through the use of Section 1115 waivers obtained from HHS, and guarantee multilingual staff to serve people in health and social services
  • Provide state subsidized child care for all healthcare providers and essential health system staff impacted by the crisis

These measures would ensure the well-being of our most marginalized community members during this unprecedented crisis. In addition to meeting these immediate needs, we encourage everyone to examine the ways in which our current economic, healthcare, housing, and carceral systems exacerbate rather than prevent such crises, and work to transform our society into one that cares for us all.

Sincerely, 

Indy10 Black Lives Matter
IMPD Transparency
IDOC Watch
Queering Indy
ANSWER Indiana
Indy SURJ
Party for Socialism and Liberation – Indianapolis