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OTOC News

Protections for Meatpacking workers needed now!

May 7th, 2020

1. Protect Public Health

Meatpacking plants are prominent employers in communities across Nebraska. With so many workers working in close quarters with little protections, community spread multiplies. OWH OTOC Op Ed with UFCW: Nebraska needs strong action to protect packing plant workers

2. Protect food supply chains

Nebraska meatpacking plants feed the country. President Trump wants plants open, but that can’t happen if there are no healthy workers. OWH: Grocery stores limiting meat purchases

3. Protect Vulnerable Families

With essential workers still working, their families, many of which are multi-generational in one home, are also exposed.  Lincoln Journal Star: ‘I want you to know he died in the hospital alone, isolated and scared’

This Mother’s Day season let us take action for the mothers, grandmother, aunts, sisters, daughters, and everyone who works in these plants so they may continue earning a living for their families and keep their families safe.

4. Protect Immigrant and Refugee workers

Many refugees and immigrants are the ones working hard for their family. This is not just an immigrant issue, but it is also an immigrant issue.

Take Action Today- contact Governor Pete Ricketts

My name is ______________ and I am a member of __________(church)___ and active with Omaha Together One Community (OTOC) in  Omaha.  My address is ________________________.

Governor Ricketts, I’m asking that you ensure that packing plant workers remain safe by requiring  6-foot spacing of workers, personal protective equipment, increased cleaning, and inspections at all meat and poultry processing plants, and other best practices.

Workers must be given paid sick leave when ill to minimize viral spread and to care for sick family members.

It is imperative to ensure plants remain open by protecting workers!

Email him at https://governor.nebraska.gov/contact-form

or call him at 402-471-2244. When calling, press 4 to leave a voicemail.

 

Mental Health Resources

April 17th, 2020

OTOC recognizes that everyone’s mental health is being impacted from our new current reality. Stress, loneliness,isolation, fear, and sorrow are taking a toll on everyone. Existing mental health conditions are also exacerbated. We have compiled some resources we hope you find helpful. Remember, you are not alone.

*We are not mental health professionals. These resources and opportunities are provided by mental health organizations unaffiliated with OTOC*

 

Crisis Resources

Methodist Hospital’s Mental Health Hotline:  (402) 815-8255

EAP Covid Counseling Hotline: 800-801-4182

NAMI Mental Health Crisis Line: 800-950-6264

Suicide Prevention Hotline: (800) 273-TALK or (800) SUICIDE

Prevencion del Suicidio: (888) 628-9454

Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-SAFE or 800-787-3224

Resources for Clinical Mental Health Issues

NAMI Family support meetings for family and friends of people with a mental illness- online meetings now available! Email namionlinefamilies@yahoo.com or register here to sign up.

How to Deal with Coronavirus If You Have OCD or Anxiety from Vice Health

Free recurring trainings from Grief’s Journey: “Ambiguous Grief 101: Self Care” (Tues/Thurs) and “Ambiguous Grief 101: Supporting Youth” (Wed/Fri).

Resources When You Can’t Afford Therapy from Greatest

Region Six Resource BookRegion 6 Behavioral Health is the body that allocates funds to behavioral health programs. This packet describes their current mental health programs.

For Congregations and Pastors

10 Guidelines for Pastoral Care in the Coronaviruas Outbreak from the Christian Century

Catholic Charities Tips

Spiritual Practices for the Coronavirus Pandemic from Spirituality and Practice

Mental Health Ministries, an organization “producing high quality resources to reduce the stigma of mental illness in our faith communities and to lift up the important role of faith/spirituality in the treatment and recovery process.”

Tips, Advice, and Ideas

The Kim Foundation 

Psych Hub free resources: https://psychhub.com/covid-19/

Mental Health America (MHA) has curated a list of mental health resources related to COVID-19

Supporting Employee Mental Health During the Coronavirus Pandemic visual guide from Mind Share Partners

Human Connection Bolsters the Immune System

The Greater Good in Action site has compiled personal exercises to foster compassion, connection, empathy, forgiveness, gratitude, happiness, kindness, mindfulness, optimism, resilience, self-compassion, and more! On Tuesdays and Thursdays at 3:00pm, join The Greater Good Science Center Facebook page for free 20-minute sessions with practices to boost resilience, connection, and positivity.

HealthyLife Special COVID-19 Edition newsletter from the American Institute for Preventive Medicine. Also check out their COVID-19 resource, Wellbeing From Home.

Developing a Positive Emotional Culture During Times of Change: six purposeful acts for supporting a positive emotional (and social) culture in your organization during times of change.

Five Ways to Stay Well While Working from Home from Daily Nurse

COVID-19: Recommended Preventative Practices and FAQs for Faith-based and Community Leaders from Mental Health Ministries and the Partnership Center

How to survive coronavirus anxiety: 8 tips from mental health experts by By A. Pawlowski from Today at NBC

Knowing and sharing Facts can help stop stigma about the virus  from the CDC

Looking after your mental health during the Coronavirus outbreak from the Mental Heath Foundation

Mental Health Tips for Quarentine for Families from Mental Health Ministries

 

 

Elections in the Pandemic

March 31st, 2020

The Nebraska Primary Election is scheduled for May 12, 2020. This election covers primary voting for US President,  US Congressional Representatives, US Senate District 1, some state Senators (odd numbered districts), and several county and local positions including some School Board, OPPD, College Regents, County Commissioners, etc. depending on where you live and what districts you are in. To see who is on your ballot, visit here 5 weeks before the primary, which for this election means they should be up by April 7.

The following information has been curated from the resources provided by the Douglas County Election Commission. Visit their website at https://www.votedouglascounty.com/

Register to Vote/ Checking your registration

Please register to vote! This can be done online, mail in, or in person. Instructions for all of those options are here.

*During Covid-19, we recommend online or mail in registration. Online is easiest, but if you do not have a Nebraska driver’s license or ID, you must use the mail in option.

Voter Registration is due 2 weeks before the Primary. The deadline this election is April 27 for in person and online. Mail in registration must be post marked by April 24. See more about those deadlines here.

Be sure to re-register if you move, change your name, or want to change your party affiliation. This is easiest to do online here.

If you want to check your registration and polling place, go here. You can check where your polling place is and what your party affiliation is.

Voting Options

As of now, voting in person is still an option in Douglas County (as of March 25). Polls are open between 8 am and 8 pm at your designated polling place (find that here) on May 12.

The other main way to vote is through an early voting. This can be done in person at certain locations (more on those details here) or on a mail in ballot.

*If you are not comfortable going to the polls during the pandemic, register for an early voting mail in ballot!

Early Voting Mail In Ballots

Fill out this Early Voting request formYou also should receive an early voting application in the mail that can be returned once filled out.

Mail that form to 12220 W Center Rd, Omaha, NE 68144 or email a scanned version to earlyvoting@votedouglascounty.com

This request must be submitted by May 1. You can do it now!

Your ballot will be mailed to you starting April 6, or a few days after you submit your Early Voting request form.

Once you have received your ballot, you can mail it back or drop it off at one of several drop-off locations listed here.

Early Voting ballots are due May 12 by dropping off at a drop box location by 8 pm or by mailing. If mailing, the election commission must receive the ballot by May 12- plan early!

Call now for a Just Stimulus Package

March 23rd, 2020

Please Contact Congress Person and Senators RIGHT NOW ahead of votes on Stimulus Package

As of this morning, the US Senate is deadlocked in its effort to pass a $1.8+ trillion fiscal stimulus bill to address the Covid-19 public health and economic crisis.

OTOC is part of the Industrial Areas Foundation, a Coalition of over 65 groups like OTOC across the country. Please join thousands of other Leaders from all over the US in contacting Congress so that people, not large corporations, get the most benefit from the upcoming stimulus package that will be voted on  TODAY or TOMORROW.

Please contact your US Senators and Representatives to urge them to pass a fiscal stimulus bill that adheres to the IAF Core Principles outlined below. It is imperative to email and/or call their US Senators THIS MORNING as negotiations about the bill continue and ahead of a projected vote today or tomorrow.

Please also send this ask to your congregations and community to invite them to act.

Omaha Area Congress Members:

Representative Don Bacon: 202-225-4155, send email on this form

Representative Jeff Fortenberry: 202-225-4806, email on this form

Senator Fischer: 202-224-6551, send email on this form
Senator Sasse: 202-224-4224, send email on this form

 

Sample Script:

Dear Senator____ or Congressperson_____:

The Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) urges Congress to pass an economic stimulus plan that protects those who urgently need help the most: American workers, families, and small businesses on the front lines of this national emergency. The federal government must act swiftly and decisively.  We must take all necessary steps to avoid the loss of income, housing, safety, and crumbling communities.  Those most at risk should be the direct and primary beneficiaries of federal intervention, not multinational corporations.

  1. Help American Workers and Families Now;
  2. Save Jobs and Protect Service Sector Workers;
  3. Drastically Expand Health Care Coverage for the Most Vulnerable;
  4. Invest Heavily in Health Care Infrastructure to Support Front Line Workers and Providers;
  5. Protect Our Communities;
  6. Avoid the Mistakes of the 2008 Financial Sector Bailouts.

The IAF represents 65 Broad-Based citizens’ organizations throughout the US, working with thousands of religious congregations, small businesses, education institutions, non-profits, civic organizations, unions to make change on social justice issues.
Thank You.

Read More . . .

End All Evictions during Corona Virus

March 20th, 2020

On Wednesday, March 26, Governor Pete Ricketts signed an executive order postponing evictions due to non-payment of rent from Coronavirus. OTOC is pleased at this great first step towards preventing more homelessness from evictions during this crisis. Thank you for your action that helped this to happen!

KETV Coverage: https://www.ketv.com/article/gov-ricketts-to-provide-covid-19-response-update-wednesday-afternoon/31930902#

This order removes the requirement of eviction hearings to be held withing 10-14 days of filing, and judges are now required to wait until after May 31 for any evictions filed due to non-payment of rent due to Coronavirus causing illness, loss of work, or loss of work because children are home.

To improve on this executive order, OTOC is urging Douglas County Judge Louhaus to suspend all evictions, regardless of the cause. No one should lose their home in the midst of a global pandemic.

OTOC Leaders invite you to take action for vulnerable families in Omaha, especially during the current global pandemic. We also recognize some landlords will lose income during the pandemic as well. We will continue to work with congregations, housing agencies, tenants, and landlords for just policies that support struggling landlords as well as tenants.

OTOC believes that even one eviction will have a highly negative ripple effect in the community. Please use any or several of these talking points when contacting the following public officials.

  • The Governor has eliminated the 10-14 day requirement, so now the judge has the authority to postpone these cases until May 31 or later if needed.
  • Regardless of why the eviction is being called for, all persons would be effected in ways exacerbated by the current health crisis.
  • People most at risk for eviction are also at high risk for COVID-19
  • The systems we have in place to support people who lose their homes are already overburdened with COVID-19 response measures. Agencies are currently triaging and can no longer adequately address the needs of more persons and families facing homelessness.
  • Losing housing means persons cannot social distance or quarantine if needed and thus will add to overburdening the health care system.
  • Eviction will push people into vulnerable situations, i.e.- overcrowding into family and friends’ homes or into shelters where COVID-19 will spread to many more in our community.
  • Crowded courtrooms will put many people at risk for exposure to COVID-19.

Contact Douglas County Judge Sheryl Lohaus. Ask her to withhold writs of eviction during the current crisis.

Judge Lohaus contact:

402-444-5432

Sheryl.lohaus@nebraska.gov


How we got here

We have signed on to a letter with 28 other organizations that was presented to the Omaha Mayor, Omaha City Council, Douglas County Board, and Douglas County Sharif and Judge Cheryl Louhaus. Read the full letter here.

With an average of 4,823 eviction actions filed annually in Douglas County – or approximately 92 per week– and 40 eviction hearings scheduled in Douglas County Courtroom 20 this Friday, March 20 alone, we must take immediate policy action to get ahead of the economic fallout.


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