Dear Governor Kemp,
At the onset of the decision you made to reopen Georgia, I wanted to believe that this was due to the economy. However, you made it clear that it was because of the data when you stated to Georgia residents in your press conference that, “the data is on your side!” But who is on the side of Georgians you’re rushing back into an unsafe workforce? What became very clear to me is that the data, according to National Geographic, reflects that our senior citizens, the homeless and the Black community are being disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. In fact, there are large numbers of Black Georgia citizens dying from COVID-19. How could we possibly justify reopening in light of the facts and the people who are being most affected by this pandemic?
Reopening Georgia, puts more working class Black citizens at risk. Local mayors, including Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms of Atlanta are urging their citizens to stay home. Many of the businesses opening don’t include childcare workers or recreation centers that won’t meet social distancing requirements. Many of these workers already don’t have healthcare and are struggling to take care of their families. Most, if not all, of these workers have children in our public school systems.
There are 181 public school systems in Georgia serving over 1.6 million children, 68% live in low-income communities. Their parents are among the workers being called back to work too early which places them at risk to be safe. Our children will be left home alone while their parents are working, many parents will be unable to get childcare to support their families. It places their parents at risk by performing jobs that require contact with others, thus placing many of Georgia’s children, our children in harm’s way.
Please consider our children and families.
Jason B. Allen
A concerned Georgia teacher
Jason B. Allen is a Special Education Teacher at 7 Pillars Career Academy in Clayton County, Georgia. He is a member of the Association of American Educators (AAE) and an AAE Foundation Advocacy Fellow.
This article was first posted on edlanta.org