For immediate release: October 16, 2020
Color Of Change Endorses HEROES Act, Calls for Immediate Action from Congress
Leading Civil Rights Organization Urges U.S. Senate to Pass Legislation Providing Critical Relief to Black Communities and Businesses
NATIONWIDE — In response to extended delays in Congress on federal coronavirus relief legislation and recent barriers to negotiations presented by the White House, Color Of Change President Rashad Robinson issued the following statement in support of the updated Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act (HEROES Act):
“We applaud Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats for passing the latest version of the HEROES Act. A result of tireless organizing and campaigning from Color Of Change and the entire progressive coalition, this latest bill responds to the direct needs of Black communities and Black-owned businesses. Color Of Change endorses the HEROES Act and urges the U.S. Senate to pass the legislation expeditiously.
The provisions in this new package, including the restoration of an additional $600 per week in unemployment benefits, $1,200 direct stimulus payments, pandemic unemployment assistance for gig workers, and a moratorium on consumer debt collection until 120 days after the end of the national emergency, will directly help Black families, which are disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.
The bill also ensures that Black communities are not carved out from relief, as was the case with coronavirus relief legislation. While the CARES Act attempted to provide support to small businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program, many Black business owners were excluded due to the program’s extensive hurdles, leaving entire communities devastated. Through Color Of Change’s own research, we’ve found that while 51% of Black and Latinx small business owners reported applying for less than $20,000, only 12% say they received the full amount of financial assistance requested. Further, more than three times that number (41%) said they were denied assistance. Moreover, Black-owned businesses are on the brink of extinction — a new poll from Color Of Change reveals 46% of Black small business owners say their businesses are already closed or will likely close within the next six months if conditions remain the same.
Thanks to the advocacy work of groups like Color Of Change, the HEROES Act corrects mistakes and closes loopholes that previously shut out Black businesses at the start of the pandemic. The legislation would make it easier for Black small business owners to access critical relief through avenues including the $3 billion in Minority Business Development Administration grants and PPP set-asides for businesses with ten or fewer employees, a category an overwhelming majority of Black businesses fall under. Additional oversight improvements such as the requirement that the Treasury Department and Inspectors General provide reports to Congress on COVID-19 programs, will also ensure Black-owned businesses get the support they need.
The legislation includes the critical support our communities need — now it’s time to get the HEROES Act across the finish line. After seeing 1 in 1,000 Black Americans die from the coronavirus, and as Black businesses go under day by day, to say we need relief immediately is an understatement. We implore our United States Senate and Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to bring this bill to a vote.”
About Color Of Change:
Color Of Change is the nation’s largest online racial justice organization. We help people respond effectively to injustice in the world around us. As a national online force driven by over 7 million members, we move decision-makers in corporations and government to create a more human and less hostile world for Black people in America. Visit www.colorofchange.org.