City Council President Sabina Matos proposes Two Resolutions to Expand SNAP Benefits and Denounce Xenophobia in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic
City Council President Sabina Matos Proposes Two Resolutions to Expand SNAP Benefits and Denounce Xenophobia in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic
Providence RI (May 7, 2020)…At tonight’s City Council meeting, Council President Sabina Matos (Ward 15) put forth two resolutions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic; one regarding an expansion of SNAP benefits and the other regarding anti-Asian sentiment in the City of Providence.
The first resolution, sponsored by Council President Matos, Council President Pro-Tempore Michael Correia (Ward 6), Councilwoman Helen Anthony (Ward 2), Councilman Pedro Espinal (Ward 10) and Councilor Rachel Miller (Ward 13), urges the Federal government to expand SNAP benefit services in Rhode Island to include online and delivery services.
«The Council is confronting this crisis head on and is working with our partners in government to help the most vulnerable amongst us,» stated Council President Sabina Matos.
Currently, SNAP recipients must physically travel to the grocery stores to purchase food items. This has been identified as a possible reason for racial disparities in the COVID-19 pandemic, as these SNAP recipients are forced to leave their homes, possibly exposing themselves to the COVID-19 virus at a greater level than those who are able to have food delivered to them.
Council President Matos continued, «It is vital that as Councilors we advocate for all residents, not just in our respective Wards but across the City. Increasing ability for SNAP recipients to use third-party grocery services, and providing access to other ways in which to use them is important to creating healthy communities.»
The Council urges the Federal Government to expand SNAP benefits to include delivery and online services in Rhode Island and throughout the country. Currently, the only states with these types of services are New York, Nebraska, Oregon, Iowa, Alabama and Washington. Upon passage, this resolution will be sent to Governor Gina Raimondo and members of Rhode Island’s Federal delegation.
The second resolution, sponsored by the same five Councilors, denounces xenophobia against the Asian community in Providence due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The United States has sadly seen an increase in racial profiling, hate crimes and violence against Asian Americans since the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
The World Health Organization has made clear that the COVID-19 virus is not affected by ethnicities or borders. The use of geographic descriptors is reductive and has led to unfounded profiling of the Asian-American community.
Any person who has witnessed or experienced racial profiling or bigotry due to the COVID-19 pandemic is urged to contact authorities for a proper investigation.
«Our Asian community is an integral part of our City. They contributions they have made culturally and economically are numerous and priceless. This resolution should put everyone on notice that hatred or discrimination has no place in our City,» continued Council President Matos.
In Providence, 6.1% of the population is of Asian heritage. The Providence City Council reaffirms its commitment to the well-being and safety of Asian-Americans in our community, denounces any case of anti-Asian sentiment in the City of Providence, and is willing to take steps to combat any crimes targeting the Asian community.
Council President Matos added, «This is the time to lift our neighbors up, and not tear them down. This disease has touched the lives of over 10,000 Rhode Islanders and knows no race.»
For more information, visit our website: council.providenceri.gov