The Work is Far From Done.

By Robert Raben and Eduardo Soto


That’s how Leader McConnell referred to demands for essential worker protections, additional SNAP funding, and demographic data to track the impact of COVID-19 on communities of color.

We hope that the Senate majority leader will understand over the coming weeks that now, more than ever, we are all related. The work we do at Raben is organized around this existential truth: we are our sister’s keeper.

Ultimately the latest round of negotiations expanded relief enough to provide additional support for hospitals and testing. But there is far, far more to be done.

Small businesses that struggled to access loans and other assistance continue to face undue hurdles, especially businesses owned by people of color. The exclusion from direct cash assistance of millions of workers without Social Security Numbers risks driving otherwise healthy people back into the workforce at a time when isolation and distancing are critical to survival.

Sixty-three thousand have died in the United States due to the pandemic. For most, the rent is due today. Sidwell Friends, with a 50$ million dollar endowment, got a $5 million dollar loan; tens of thousands of barbershops and bodegas couldn’t even get their bank to talk to them.

Congress is assessing what a return to regular order might look like amid mounting demands for oversight hearings, equitable relief, and the inevitable need to extend the shelf-life of emergency relief programs. As lawmakers begin to debate the contents of the next round of legislation, the list of industries and communities in dire need of assistance continues to grow. Fortunately, many companies and organizations across the country are stepping up to meet those needs.

Just within the ranks of our friends and clients the following:

As calls for decarceration echo across state capitols and virtual spaces, Just Leadership USA President DeAnna Hoskins critically examines issues such as housing and other hurdles faced by the formerly incarcerated, concluding that criminal history ought to be a protected class, in the latest Newsweek.

The ACLU’s forceful campaign to end solitary confinement is training its focus on states that are relying more than ever on this cruel form of detention in response to the pandemic.

In The Hill, Full Color Future Board Chair Mignon Clyburn urges her former colleagues at the Federal Communications Commission to take bold steps to reduce or eliminate the cost of prison phone calls in light of COVID-19.

Families everywhere are balancing work and the educational needs of children home from school, with many children losing access to reliable meals as a result of school closures. In Elko, Nevada, Communities In Schools is reinventing its core work to meet students where they are, even if that means dropping off hot Takis and talking about boy troubles. President and CEO Rey Saldaña wrote for EdWeek that Congress should increase not just aid for schools but also for the nonprofits that serve them.

For too many, isolation also means a greater risk of experiencing domestic violence. Alejandra Y. Castillo and the YWCA are redoubling efforts to help survivors stay safe.

We hope you will join us in applauding and supporting these efforts. There is far more to be done before we can safely plan to return to normal; all of it related and all of it connected, even as some push truly unrelated proposals. In his recently published Washington Post opinion piece, How Trump’s lawless threat to adjourn Congress could backfire, our colleague Jeremy Paris responds to some of the most egregious examples — and calls the bluff.

Thank you for all you are doing. It will take all of us working together, but we will form winning coalitions, put our best tactics forward, and come out stronger on the other side.

And we are all related.  ​