So much emotion has been running through my heart and mind over these last several days as we watch our nation react passionately to the murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and so many others whose names do not make the headlines. We have been forced to reckon with the manifestation of America’s original sin of slavery. Some may be uncomfortable with that correlation. However, the root of this discrimination lies within a society that allowed the enslaving of its fellow human beings solely based on the color of their skin. This uncomfortable truth must be acknowledged so that we can recognize that while the physical chains that bound black and brown people no longer exist, there are still systemic and psychological chains that hold a segment of our society down.
If the coronavirus has been a bludgeon that has awakened our sensitivities to the challenges of unemployment benefits fulfillment and other economic issues, the other truncheon that threatens is the change we need in the social contract that exists within the American workforce.
Gallup recently issued a startling statistic: One-third of working Americans work in the gig economy, a workforce of “nontraditional, independent, short-term working relationships.”
Memorial Day is a day of remembrance when a grateful nation offers thanks. We began observing Memorial Day in 1868 (three years after the end of the Civil War) when our country honored military personnel who sacrificed their lives in the service of their country. We celebrate this holiday (previously called Decoration Day) each year on the last Monday of May.
The coronavirus has forced many changes that we would never have previously imagined. Some are lighthearted with Zoom happy hours, and others are sad, grim affairs, such as not being able to hug a loved one in the hospital who might be fighting for their life.
The coronavirus has sparked a tsunami of change that we are all undergoing. One of its most telling effects is its impact on the issue of unemployment.
Over the past 6 weeks, our office has received hundreds of phone calls, emails, and social media messages related to the COVID-19 pandemic. At first, the calls were specific to the illness itself – What if I have symptoms? How do I get tested? Then, they progressed into questions about the Governor’s Stay at Home order: Is my business essential? Am I supposed to go to work? However, since then, the vast majority (as in 99%) of the questions we are receiving are from our bosses in the 7th Legislative District and beyond, who need help with their unemployment claims.
The headlines say it all. Case counts. Death tolls. Unemployment numbers skyrocketing. Economic turmoil. With headlines like these, it is easy to become burdened and saddened by the news. Yet, in the midst of all this bad news, there are stories of positivity to lighten the weight of these heavier realities.
In Case You Missed It: This week, the Legislature met to pass a wide array of initiatives to address the COVID-19 public health emergency. These proposals range from protections for homeowners and renters to relief for businesses. I was proud to sponsor a number of these initiatives (those that I sponsored are in bold below). For more information on these proposals please visit www.njleg.state.nj.us.
It is no secret that we’re in the midst of a public health emergency. However, an unintended consequence of this is the economic emergency it has caused in every corner of our state, as well. There isn’t an industry, business, or worker who has not been impacted in some way by COVID-19.
It is no secret that the current public health emergency has taken a toll on our economy and our business community. This is especially true for our small business community. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s New Jersey profile, New Jersey is home to 861,000 small businesses which employ over 1.8 million people, or nearly half of our total workforce.
Sometimes critical moments in life come down to a simple decision: Are you in or are you out? That moment of decision is occurring this year.
I’m referring to the U.S. Census, a once-a-decade event, enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, whose aim it is to count every person in America. Yes, it is a legal requirement that mandates the counting of everyone in the United States regardless of race, color, creed or status.