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Oakland public schools teachers and principals are launching a campaign urging people to donate part of their new coronavirus stimulus checks to help vulnerable undocumented families who aren’t eligible for government assistance.
Oakland educators said they hope their “Stimulus Pledge” campaign will spread to school districts throughout California and the nation as undocumented communities face what they describe as an unprecedented economic and health care crisis.
“We have created a new way to mobilize community support for vulnerable families by making it easy for concerned community members to share some or all of their stimulus checks,” Bridges Academy Principal Anita Iverson-Comelo said in a statement.
Iverson-Comelo said, “We want every school and every district to take advantage of what we’ve developed.”
Oakland educators said they’ve learned that up to 75 percent of immigrant families have seen their income greatly reduced or completely eliminated because of the shelter-in-place order imposed by Alameda County’s health officer a month ago.
They said that due to their immigration status, the families are ineligible for government assistance such as unemployment benefits or the approximately $600 billion that will be distributed through stimulus checks.
Emerson Elementary School Principal Heather Palin said, “As principals, we know there is a huge need in the community. Everyone is struggling, but undocumented families receive the least support and are particularly vulnerable.”
Campaign organizers say the pledge is based on a behavioral economics concept called pre-commitment in which people commit to taking a specific action with an anticipated financial windfall.
The website is at StimulusPledge.org and also accepts donations from those who won’t receive stimulus checks.