Coalition Urges Gov. Brown to Protect Children Impacted by the COVID-19 Crisis

A joint letter calls on state leaders to "act with children our north star."

Group of children in a classroom.
Group of children in a classroom.

Today, FBO/Chalkboard Project joined a broad coalition of community-based organizations, education advocates, and business groups in a letter calling on Governor Kate Brown and state leaders to put children at the forefront when mapping Oregon’s road to recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.

Anticipating state revenue shortfalls and a possible special legislative session, the coalition is urging state leadership to uphold their commitment to educational equity, and take steps to mitigate COVID-19’s disproportionate impact by directing resources to Oregon’s most vulnerable children.

“Rather than aggravate the pandemic's impact with across-the-board budget cuts, Oregon's children need a nuanced response that recognizes their diverse needs,” the joint letter states.

Upon sending the letter, community leaders offered statements of concern and hope:

“Oregon's recovery plan must reflect the promise of the Student Success Act,” said Annalivia Palazzo-Angulo, Executive Director of the Salem/Keizer Coalition for Equality. "Before the pandemic, communities and educators across Oregon spent thousands of hours drafting plans to eliminate tragic disparities in educational access and achievement. These disparities still exist, and the social consequences won't help our state recover. Oregon's COVID-19 response has to overcome the inequities we see from early learning to graduation.”

“It’s a distressing time for Oregon’s children, but all hope is not lost. With the support of state leaders, schools and communities can reimagine how they work together to make sure every child is getting the care and connection they need.” said Kali Ladd, Executive Director of KairosPDX. “Community-based organizations are vital to this calculus. If we recognize this, our kids and public education system have a chance to grow stronger during this crisis.”

“In Native culture, the elders and leaders always place the highest priority on our children. Let’s all do our part as leaders of Oregon and follow this tradition," said Paul Lumley, Executive Director of the Native American Youth and Family Center. "There's no greater responsibility than teaching and nurturing children right now—especially those in our most vulnerable communities."