In April, you joined us in calling on the House to prioritize equity, justice, and opportunity in the Massachusetts state budget, especially for those who have been hit hardest during the COVID-19 pandemic. We’re so thankful to everyone who took action, sending more than 100 letters to representatives across the Commonwealth! This was an extraordinary show of support, but we can’t back down.
The budget is now in the hands of the Senate and with debates right around the corner, we need you to raise your voice once again and join us to expand language access, create safe and supportive school environments, and increase support for youth experiencing homelessness. Find more details below and take action today!
Amendment #139 (Sen. DiDomenico) would provide $8 million to improve the capacity of our public-facing state agencies to meet the critical language access needs of our Commonwealth’s increasingly diverse population.
Massachusetts is one of the most linguistically diverse states in the country, with nearly 1 in 10 residents estimated to be limited English proficient. But the COVID-19 pandemic laid bare the inability of state agencies to provide desperately needed information and services in languages other than English. It is urgent that limited English proficient residents have equal access to public health information, education, unemployment assistance, healthcare, housing, and other crucial services.
Amendments #645 and #646 (Sen. Chandler) would support public schools and school districts in transitioning to safety models that do not rely on stationing police in schools. Research has shown that while having police in schools does not improve school safety (particularly with respect to preventing school shootings), police presence in schools has been tied to greater numbers of suspensions, lower graduation rates, and lower college enrollment rates, as well as contributing to the criminalization of Black and Latinx students.
Amendment #673 (Sen. DiDomenico) would increase funding for safe and supportive schools, helping expand and improve strategies and tools so all students are empowered to succeed in school.
Amendment #824 (Sen. Crighton) would ensure limited English proficient parents and students are provided with competent interpretation services at school, helping protect the civil rights of limited English proficient parents and enabling them to fully participate in their child’s education
Together, these amendments will help disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline, address disparities in education, and create safe, welcoming, and supportive school environments for all students.
In the wake of the many disruptions and traumas students have endured throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, making sure they are set up for success and able to thrive in school is essential. Please send a message to your State Senator urging them to co-sponsor budget amendments #645, #646, #673, and #824!
Amendment #475 (Sen. Chang-Díaz) would increase funding for the budget line item “Housing and Supportive Services for Unaccompanied Youth” (4000-0007) from $8.5 million to $10 million.
It is impossible to ignore the lifetime toll homelessness can have on young people, increasing their risk of poor health outcomes, exposure to violence, susceptibility to exploitation, and dropping out of school. Challenges stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic have only increased the scale of need across the state, while the availability of services has a direct correlation to the number of youth experiencing homelessness advocates are able to identify and help
This increased investment in supportive services for our most vulnerable youth is vital to help create a sustained and effective response to end youth homelessness. Please reach out to your State Senator and ask them to co-sponsor and actively support Sen. Chang-Díaz’s budget amendment #475!
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