The new COVID-19 bill

Shared via Children’s Defense Fund-

Late last night, the Senate passed a $2 trillion COVID-19 relief package that represents an important step toward helping to meet the needs of children and families, the health care system, and states incurring huge new costs in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

The package includes many provisions which will begin to help ease the burdens of this crisis for millions of children and families across the country, including:

  • Putting money directly in the hands of low- and middle-income earners with one time cash payments of $1,200 per adult and $500 per child
  • Supporting families facing housing insecurity with grants for homelessness assistance, an increase in funding to support low-income renters, and protections against foreclosures and evictions
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Shutting off water during a pandemic?

Currently, people across the country are not able to wash their hands because their water service is turned off.

This is horrifying, especially during this critical time when the most widely endorsed strategy to prevent or manage the coronavirus (COVID-19) is to wash our hands frequently.

The pandemic is making it all the more clear: water access is critical for public health. We all deserve access to water in order to be able to keep ourselves and our communities safe.

Join us now in urging Congress to support a nationwide moratorium on water shutoffs amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In 2018, our research found that an estimated 15 million people in the United States experienced a water shutoff in one year due to nonpayment of water bills.¹
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New England Aquarium offering virtual programming during temporary closures

With students across New England home from school amid closures related to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak, the New England Aquarium is offering special virtual programming to keep families engaged.

Each day at 11:00 a.m., content will be posted on the Aquarium’s social media platforms that includes live videos with educators, a behind-the-scenes look at animal care, and fun activities for children. Online visitors will also find a special webpage on neaq.org to take a “virtual visit” to the Aquarium, featuring video, at-home projects, and other educational resources. This page will be updated regularly with fresh material.

Last week, the Aquarium made the decision to close to the public and suspend all events and educational programming for a minimum of three weeks as a precautionary move to protect staff and visitors and ensure continued care for the animals. Much of the special programming available online will focus on the important work still happening at the Aquarium amid the closure.
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The Newark Museum of Art to Close Temporarily Starting March 14th

n the interest of protecting the well-being of our staff, members, volunteers, and visitors, and following guidance from local, state and federal authorities regarding measures that best promote public health, we have decided to temporarily close The Newark Museum of Art beginning on Saturday, March 14th. We will reopen on Thursday, April 16th. 

The Newark Museum of Art’s top priority is the safety and peace of mind for our members, visitors, staff and partners. Each decision we make during this challenge starts with us asking what is best for our visitors and staff. Lastly, we want you to know we are carefully monitoring the situation and will provide any new updates as quickly as possible. For additional questions about the virus, we suggest accessing the CDC website for the most reliable information.
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Gifts That Give To Those Who Need It Most #GiftGuide

As you buy gifts for loved ones this year, consider what you could do to help impoverished children throughout the Caribbean, Africa, Asia, and Latin America as well. Gifts are made through Cross Catholic Outreach, a 501c3 Catholic relief and development ministry that provides food, shelter, medical care, water, education, self-help programs, care for orphans and emergency relief. These are a few of the options people can choose from as gift ideas (more ideas are here):

  • Food for the hungry – Send lifesaving supplies of Vitafood to starving children and their families. $27 can feed a family for a whole month.
  • Toys and gifts for a needy child – Let Cross Catholic Outreach pack your Box of Joy with toys and gifts and send it to a child. For $34, Cross Catholic Outreach will pack your Box of Joy and send it to a needy child overseas.
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Five Reasons to Not Buy Turtles or Tortoises As Gifts

American Tortoise Rescue, the international nonprofit for turtle and tortoise protection, is asking consumers to not buy live animals, especially turtles and tortoises as gifts this holiday season. Adopt don’t shop.

According to Susan Tellem, co-founder of the sanctuary, while these wonderful reptiles have outlived the dinosaurs, wide spread illegal smuggling and the commercial pet trade in turtles and tortoises has devastated wild populations worldwide. Many once thriving species are now threatened or endangered. Worse, some are now extinct.

“The pet industry thrives on small, adorable exotic animals with a big price tag,” Tellem says. “What we are recommending is to avoid impulse buys. We understand the appeal of an adorable two inch baby turtle!” Tellem adds, “But most animal rescues have many turtles and tortoises ready for adoption to good homes.”

Tellem gives five reasons why people shouldn’t buy a turtle or tortoise.

  1. Reptiles are boring. Parents shouldn’t expect their kids to find everlasting enjoyment in an animal that basically sits still most of the day sunning itself. Many kids tire of a turtle in a tank and don’t want to clean the habitat and change the water daily. Turtles and tortoises poop, Tellem reminds everyone.
  2. Most turtles and many tortoises hibernate during fall and winter. It’s unnatural for them to be awake and available for sale when they should be sleeping from about October through April. It’s cruel to sell wild animals that need to hibernate to stay healthy.
  3. Turtles and tortoises confined in tanks are miserable. It’s like a human spending their entire life in a bathtub Tellem says. The only proper habitat for these reptiles is outside. Natural sun exposure helps maintain a healthy shell and is necessary for the animal to grow and thrive. During hibernation, most reptiles can stay outside in shelters that are dry and predator proof.
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Stocking Stuffers that Give Back

Looking for a holiday gift that gives back? These are a great alternative to the usual stocking stuffer and also gives back to the planet: a tree planted by Tree-Nation (300 varieties to choose from) to help reforest the Earth and reduce CO2 emissions, all in one present.

The Earth loses about 36 football fields worth of forest each minute and during the holiday season, the U.S. alone sells 2.65 billion cards and spends $12.7 billion on wrapping paper, so this is the perfect time to give back. Gifting a tree with Tree-Nation can cost consumers as little as a dime and supports climate change and reforestation projects across the globe—here in the U.S., Brazil, India and many more. Recipients will receive access to the platform where they can track their tree growth and check in on the CO2 emissions they are offsetting all via their personalized “forest” page.

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Write for Rights: Amnesty International launches global campaign championing youth activists

Amnesty International has today launched Write for Rights, the world’s biggest human rights campaign, which this year champions children’s rights and youth activists.

“This year Write for Rights, Amnesty’s flagship human rights campaign, champions youth activists who are taking on the world’s biggest crises,” said Kumi Naidoo, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

“From those campaigning for climate and environmental justice, to those challenging inequality, poverty, discrimination and political repression, young people have emerged as a powerful force for change who deserve the world’s support.”

Every December people around the world write millions of letters, emails, tweets, Facebook posts and postcards for those whose human rights are under attack, in what has become the world’s biggest human rights event.

Amnesty International is hoping to break last year’s Write for Rights record of nearly six million messages of support for activists and individuals from 10 countries whose human rights are under attack.

Youth activism in the spotlight

Youth activists have played a prominent role in major protest movements and human rights campaigns during 2019, such as the Fridays for Future climate strike movement founded by 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, as well as protest movements in many countries around the world.

Write for Rights 2019 features youth human rights defenders and individuals in Belarus, Canada, China, Egypt, Greece, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, Philippines and South Sudan.

Launching two days ahead of Universal Children’s Day on 20 November, a day to promote children’s rights, several of the featured activists had their rights violated as children.
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