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COVID-19 and our democracy

Friends,

With two new Co-Executive Directors starting earlier this month, we here at the Bus were feeling ready to take on the world! Or at least, ready to continue building our statewide movement to increase political access and participation for all young people #youthquake. Enter COVID-19, the virus that is having an unprecedented impact on the lives of each of us, and that of our loved ones and our communities.

We care about our community, especially those who are likely to be disproportionately affected by this pandemic and the narrative surrounding it– people of color, immigrants, people with a low-income, and those that are incarcerated. We’re here to do our part. 

Like you, the Bus values inclusion, empowerment and justice, and it is out of these values that we are continuing to do our work. With an eye to the health and safety of the community, we’ve made some adjustments, because we know democracy must go on:

  • Our staff has been working remotely since March 16 and will continue to do so through at least April 8 (per Governor Inslee’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy order), if not longer. The health and safety of our staff and the community is number one.

  • We have shifted our current programming away from face-to-face field work and towards digital organizing and other remote strategies. Last week we kicked off our remote Census 2020 outreach and have held two “Get Out the Count” remote text banking sessions, yielding over 25,000 texts! We will be holding a remote phone/text bank every week to ensure our communities know to complete the census.

  • We have cancelled the in-person Bus Bash fundraiser and instead will be sharing virtual opportunities so you can continue  to support our work and the 2020 Fellows when they begin the program this June. Stay tuned for updates.

We are fortunate to have the ability and privilege to practice the above-mentioned physical distancing.

We are in this together. We’d like to invite you to join us in whatever way you are able. Here’s how you can be with the Bus as we ride out this COVID storm:

  • Take care of yourself. We care about you and we need you. There are loads of resources available from our state here: https://www.coronavirus.wa.gov/

  • Complete the Census! Let’s help our community get the vital resources for its greatest moments of need (like right now).

  • Join a GOTC phone/text bank! Sign up here for the remarkably de-stressing activity of contacting strangers about democracy.

  • If you were planning to attend Bus Bash and your financial situation is stable, you can still support our work with a 100% tax-deductible gift in honor of Bus Bash.

  • Fight racism, xenophobia and ableism. This pandemic is feeding the long history of how immigrant groups and people of color have been labeled with “disease” imagery. We encourage each other to address the jokes and do their part to support people of color during this time.  

Together, let us rise to this new challenge. Let us continue to demand that local and state governments adopt policies that protect historically disenfranchised communities and meet the needs of all people, not just some. And let us get innovative and creative with how we do this now, in the time of the Coronavirus, and for the long-term beyond.

In solidarity,

The Bus Team

WA Bus staff during a virtual team meeting.

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