Parenting Journey Executive Director Imari Paris Jeffries authored an op-ed for The Somerville Times on how COVID-19 has intensified the challenges parents and families already face.
He notes, “I don’t want to live in a world where my choices to keep my family safe are putting others, who are already impacted by systemic inequities, at risk.
“The City of Somerville has taken measures to protect its residents by providing an average of 950 meals per day at school locations to families in need; the local food pantries are distributing bags of food to households and organizations. The Council on Aging is working with Meals on Wheels to provide meal deliveries and transportation to grocery stores. And, here at Parenting Journey, we are doing our best to fill the gaps by providing emergency financial support to families – we’ve distributed nearly $20,000 directly to families in our community.
“Additionally, we commend Mayor Curtatone for extending the deadline for property tax, excise tax and water bill payments to June 29. This will certainly ease some of the financial burden families are feeling.
“But, we need to ask ourselves: what are we going to do as a community to create a better world for everyone in the long term? How we respond to this crisis will define us as a community and as leaders in the future.
“Our schools shouldn’t have to be in the business of feeding people. Families should be able to afford their rent. Grocery stores and food delivery companies should always put worker safety ahead of profits. And, during a pandemic we shouldn’t have to protect our family at the risk of harming others.”