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Op-Ed: On May 1, Let's Fight COVID-19 Together
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Op-Ed: On May 1, Let's Fight COVID-19 Together

In the face of the COVID-19 global pandemic, Coloradans must fight for unity. Our community has experienced the heartbreaking loss of loved ones from COVID-19 and is also experiencing financial loss. We all must unite to help each other though this crisis. Colorado will be stronger if all of us fight COVID-19 together as a community.

A federal disaster relief package was passed in late March to expand unemployment insurance coverage so that most workers are eligible for a larger portion of their wages and, now, even contract employees are covered.

I’ve been in contact with the Colorado Apartment Association regarding rent, and if you need help paying rent, the Colorado Apartment Association has created a list of organizations available to those in need, and the file is accessible to the public here. The list is organized by federal sources and then organized by county. If you are struggling to afford food, rent, utilities or any other basic need, review the list by your county and be certain to contact your housing provider. The rental housing community is working with residents to create payment plans, not charge late fees, freeze rent increases and more during these unprecedented times. Housing providers understand the fear of financial uncertainty and will assist you if you are struggling to afford rent or have concerns that you may not be able to pay your rent come May 1, but you must contact your housing provider as soon as possible.

Although these are very hard and difficult times, we cannot allow fear and grief to keep us from personal responsibility and care for our neighbors. If we let these emotions overcome our lives, it will do nothing to quell our anxiety or stop this crisis. We must all commit to do our part in order to weather this pandemic together.

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Those who are blessed and able to pay rent, utilities and buy groceries, please do not take the valuable resources made available to those who need it most. Many have already received the federal stimulus money from the CARES Act, and others should receive it soon. This will temporarily alleviate some of our worries and fears around finances.

Navigating a pandemic is difficult, and neither the state nor federal governments were prepared for this level of tragedy. Many of our leaders are trying to help those who really need help in our community, and we also should do our best to rally in support around the people we know who are hurting.

Instead of public criticism and strike movements we’re seeing around the nation, we must come together and rally for support and strength for the best outcome for everyone during these challenging times.

Let’s work together to protect the health and humanity of ourselves, our families, and our communities.

Reverend Patrick Lee Demmer Jr. has served the church and community as a musician, pastor, political activist and business owner for over thirty years. As former president of the Greater Metro Denver Ministerial Alliance, he's not afraid to take stands far more controversial than this; in fact, he was featured in a No on 112 ad in September 2018.

Westword occasionally publishes op-eds and essays on issues of interest to the Denver community. Have one you'd like to submit? Send it to editorial@westword.com, where you can also send responses to this piece. Or just post a comment below.

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