Millions of Americans are on pins and needles as they wait for the federal government to come to an agreement regarding unemployment benefits. On March 14, the current set of unemployment benefits will expire and leave millions without much-needed income during the later stages of a deadly pandemic.
While federal lawmakers debate the ins and outs of another relief package, Black Lives Matter organizers are taking matters into their own hands. The human rights organization has launched a $3 million survival fund for those who are struggling financially during the pandemic. Through the survival fund, the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation will distribute 3,000 checks of $1,000 each.
“Since the beginning of this pandemic, the government has not done enough to support Black people, leaving too many of us in survival mode. Before COVID-19, there was already a racial-wealth gap, and this pandemic has exacerbated it,” the website states.
Opening applications during Black History Month, the foundation has already seen a massive response. The organization feels that the massive response they've received underscores the need for unemployment benefits to be expanded through September.
"[The] enormous response has highlighted how severe the economic crisis still is for millions of Black people across the country, and how much more needs to be done," the organization told The Hill.
During the first round of the relief checks, the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation has assisted transgender applicants, single parents, formerly incarcerated people and the families of those killed by police. Black Lives Matter Co-Founder Patrisse Cullors feels that this is the first step in a long process toward relief for the most marginalized communities in America.
“This came from a collective conversation with BLM leadership that Black folks are being hurt the most financially during the pandemic,” Cullors told the Associated Press.
“I believe that when you have resources, to hoard them is a disservice to the people who deserve them."
Those in need of support during the COVID-19 pandemic can visit the fund's official website and apply today.
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