A network of community organizers and groups are calling upon major
Tompkins County institutions to aid local residents during the COVID-19
The Emergency Response Coalition, a growing network of local activists and social justice groups, has issued an open letter/petition to Cornell University, Ithaca College, and Cayuga Medical Center (CMC) demanding that the institutions establish an emergency fund to support community members and workers during the crisis. The coalition, which includes organizers from Black Lives Matter, the Tompkins County Workers’ Center, the Ithaca Tenants Union, and a host of other groups, is asking community members to add their names to the open letter/petition here.
The letter demands that:
- Cornell, CMC, and other major landlords freeze and forgive rent payments during the COVID-19 crisis;
- Cornell, Ithaca College, and CMC pressure state actors and corporations to freeze and forgive utilities payments during the crisis;
- Cornell, Ithaca College, and CMC spearhead a mutual aid fund for the County to be administered by local officials and community groups.
The economy of Tompkins County depends on transactions between these businesses and community members. Without revenue from students and visitors, small businesses are being forced to lay off or cut the hours of local retail and service industry workers, increasing pressure on employees who do not receive paid leave.
Cornell, Ithaca College and CMC have the power and capacity to act. They can and must take steps to decrease the tremendous economic suffering of our community during this pandemic, and to stand in solidarity with the people of Tompkins County.
Organizations supporting this effort thus far include:
- Black Lives Matter Ithaca
- Cornell Graduate Students United Steering Committee
- Cornell National Lawyers Guild
- Cornell University Chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP)
- Ithaca College Contingent Faculty Union
- Ithaca Democratic Socialists of America
- Ithaca Tenants Union
- The Sciencecenter Workers’ Union
- Tompkins Co. Immigrant Rights Coalition
- Tompkins County Showing Up For Racial Justice
- Tompkins County Workers’ Center