TO: Equality California Members
FROM: Rick Chavez Zbur, Executive Director
DATE: March 18, 2020
RE: COVID-19 Update
This is an unprecedented and difficult time. Even as we physically distance ourselves in the name of public health, I hope that you are binding tightly together with your LGBTQ+ and ally community virtually and leaning on one another figuratively. We’re here for each other, and nothing can change that.
Out of concern for the health of our staff, all Equality California offices were closed last Friday until further notice and our team across the state and the country will be working remotely. Please do not hesitate to reach out should you need anything.
Our San Francisco Equality Awards have been postponed from May 9 to Friday, September 11. Our California LGBTQ Leadership Summit and Sacramento Equality Awards have been postponed until future dates to be determined. It is likely that additional events may also be postponed, and we will update you as soon as any decisions are made.
Due to these postponements and other uncertainties, we expect a significant loss in revenue this quarter.
While our short-term finances are solid, it is difficult to predict at this point the longer term impact that COVID-19 will have on our organization. We are working to ensure the security of our staff and existing programs, but we will no doubt have to run a lean operation and evaluate our programming for the remainder of the fiscal year.
At a time when the primary focus is — and should be — the health and well-being of our loved ones, we understand not everyone has the ability to contribute. However, if you are seeking an opportunity to make a difference right now and have the means to help make sure our organization comes out of the COVID-19 pandemic on even footing, please consider donating HERE.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you for considering assisting our organization in this time of need. Though our staff is working from home, we are still educating our community about the importance of participating in the 2020 Census, work that can’t be postponed. We are still advancing our critical legislation to protect LGBTQ+ students, people living with HIV from insurance discrimination and transgender people who face violence and danger in correctional facilities. And we are still advocating for safe and supportive schools for LGBTQ+ students, fighting Big Tobacco’s predatory marketing on our LGBTQ+ youth, protecting those living with HIV and more. Our work to ensure everyone has access to quality, affordable healthcare from providers who understand the unique needs of LGBTQ+ people is more important than ever. Every dollar will help.
An unfortunate reality of this crisis is that LGBTQ+ people are particularly vulnerable to the health effects of COVID-19 because we are more likely to belong to the various high-risk demographic groups. Please take extra care of LGBTQ+ elders and those with underlying health issues. Visit THIS SITE for the most up-to-date information on COVID-19, California’s response and resources available to Californians impacted by the outbreak, including paid sick leave and unemployment assistance.
Our community is resilient and this is undoubtedly a test on the fiber and fabric that bind us together. Whether it’s washing your hands, practicing social distancing or avoiding public gatherings, you have a part to play in protecting our LGBTQ+ siblings and our entire community. Stay strong. We’re in this together.