Insights: Catholics Honor Floyd; DACA Ruling Expected Soon

Catholic Churches Honor George Floyd on Day of Burial

Dioceses throughout California held special Masses and tributes on Tuesday, June, 9, for George Floyd, an African-American man who was killed while in police custody in Minneapolis. Floyd was laid to rest in Houston the same day.  

Some parishes rang their bells for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, while others observed the same amount of time for silent prayer in lieu of homilies. Floyd was held down forcefully by his neck for nearly nine minutes by a police officer that resulted in his death.

Vatican News highlighted the Mass that Los Angeles Archbishop and USCCB President José Gomez live-streamed from his Cathedral in remembrance of Floyd.

“George Floyd’s death was heartbreaking. It was wrong. It never should have happened,” said Archbishop Gomez during his homily. “His death is a sad reminder that we have still have a long way to go in our country to confront the reality of black inequality and the racism that still infects our institutions.”

More actions are being planned around California and the nation.  Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest developments.  Click here for USCCB resources available to explore the issue of racism in this nation.  You can also read comments from other Bishops around California.

 

Private Schools Concerned Over Allocation of CARES Act Funds

As some private schools are being forced to close their doors as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, California private school advocates are expressing concern over California’s plan to allocate $1.5 billion in funding it received via the Coronavirus Aid Relief Economic Security (CARES) Act.

According to the State’s interpretation of federal guidelines, local public school districts may be able to ignore federal guidelines for determining how much Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund money must be used to provide services for private school students and educators. 

The majority of California’s public school districts stand to receive ESSER funds from the CARES Act.  Depending upon which funding formula they use, significantly fewer dollars might be made available for private school “equitable services” relative to a district’s public schools. 

“A public health emergency or a virus draws no distinction between a public school student and a private school student,” said California Association of Private School Organizations (CAPSO) Executive Director Ron Reynolds. “It doesn’t serve the public health interest if we take steps to ensure that only a fraction of our schools are safe and healthy places.”

California, and several other states question the federal guidelines, maintaining that the CARES Act requires the formula used to determine the amount of ESSER fund dollars available for equitable services to be based on the number of private school students who qualify for participation in the federal Free and Reduced Lunch Program, or meet another poverty criterion.  Public school students in districts receiving ESSER funds need not meet a poverty criterion.

“The hope is that, for the purpose of implementing the CARES Act, private school students and educators are treated equally,” said Reynolds. “The economic fallout from COVID-19 affects all of us.”

The ESSER Funds are currently tied to the State Budget, which the Legislature must pass by June 15.

 

Feds Allocate $2.96 Billion to Help Homeless

The federal government has announced an additional $2.96 billion in Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) funding to support homeless Americans and individuals at risk of becoming homeless due to COVID-19 circumstances. This funding is in addition to $1 billion of ESG grants originally established with the signing of the Coronavirus Aid Relief Economic Stimulus (CARES) Act.

These funds will allow for the operation of more emergency shelters, provide hotel and meal vouchers and essential services including employment assistance and outpatient health services.

 

Last Chance to Connect with Lawmakers

The Legislature must pass a state budget by June 15, and there are still two items pending that are integral to community health and economic stability. If you have not already taken action on these alerts, visit our advocacy page to quickly let legislators know you protect Community Based Adult Services and Expand the California Earned Income Tax Credit.

 

Supreme Court Ruling on DACA Expected Soon

 

Any day now, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to hand down a decision on whether President Trump can enforce his elimination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program.

In 2017, the Trump Administration ended the program that began under President Obama, which allows young undocumented immigrants who came to the country as children (known as “Dreamers”) to pursue an education and work in the United States and protects them from deportation. In 2017, President Trump ordered an end to DACA and a legal battle ensued. The Supreme Court has now taken up the case and is expected to rule by the end of the month.

Last year, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the American Dream and Promise Act (H.R.6), which provides a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, but the bill has stalled in the Senate, the likely victim of political warfare.

“Today, Dreamers and TPS holders remain vulnerable and without permanent legal status. This continued uncertainty for Dreamers and TPS holders comes at a time during the COVID-19 pandemic when many Dreamers and TPS holders are, alongside U.S. citizens, on the frontlines providing essential work for our country in health care, food supply, and transportation,” said the USCCB Migration Chairman in a recently published statement.

In a recent study, over 62,000 DACA-eligible workers currently work in healthcare in the U.S. The California Catholic Conference has published extensive background information on the policy effecting close to 2 million in the country. 

 

The Spirit loves us and knows everyone’s place: for Him, we are not bits of confetti blown about by the wind, but irreplaceable fragments in His mosaic. @Pontifex

 

June 12, 2020
Vol. 13, No. 21

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