Advocacy Related to COVID-19
When it comes to addressing this public health crisis, we are all only as healthy as the most vulnerable in our community.
Columbia Legal Service – POLICY REFORM
On January 21, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Washington State Department of Health announced the first case of 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Washington State. Many agencies, hospitals, direct service providers, and advocates are taking vital steps to address this pandemic, but some communities aren’t receiving adequate or equitable attention. When it comes to addressing this public health crisis, we are all only as healthy as the most vulnerable in our community.
Columbia Legal Services is working closely with the communities we serve and our allies to help mitigate the impacts facing communities at most risk during the current COVID-19 outbreak. We’re calling on local and state leaders and the Department of Corrections (DOC) to take swift and decisive action to protect the public health of all Washingtonians, including people who are incarcerated or detained, farm workers, and the 30,000 largely Mexican H-2A workers across our state. If we don’t take bold, proactive action now to reduce the threat of COVID-19 in jails, state prisons, detention centers, and the farm worker community, we put an already vulnerable population in danger and the broader public at further risk.
This webpage includes many COVID-19 resources, including joint letters to Governor Jay Inslee and the DOC, media releases and coverage, and letters that we have signed onto with allies and coalitions across Washington and the nation. We’ll update this page regularly.
On April 10, the Washington Supreme Court made an initial ruling.
Colvin v. Inslee Documents
- Colvin v. Inslee – Petitioners’ Brief in Reply to Respondents’ Response Brief
- Colvin v. Inslee – State’s Response Brief
- Colvin v. Inslee – State’s DOC Report
- Colvin v. Inslee – Order Granting Accelerate Review
- Colvin v. Inslee – Court Response to Emergency Motion
- Colvin v. Inslee – Emergency Motion
- Declaration of Bladin
- Supplemental Declaration of Kill
- Colvin v. Inslee Petition
- Colvin v. Inslee – Petitioners Brief
- Altice Declaration
- Bergstrom Declaration
- Berry Declaration
- Burkett Declaration
- Colvin Declaration
- Cota Declaration
- Duncan Declaration
- Graham Declaration
- Greifinger Declaration
- Holley Declaration
- Kill Declaration
- Maples Declaration
- Meadows Declaration
- Pacholke Declaration
- Pauley Declaration
- Puisis & Shansky Declarations
- Rhone Declaration
- Sauer Declaration
- Stark Declaration
- Straley Declaration
- Siriani Declaration
Local Group in Wenatchee Urges Local Leaders to Listen to Science, Experts, and Essential Workers
The Immigrant and Latinx Solidarity Group (ILSG) is a group of community members from diverse professions that have direct contact with the local Latinx and Immigrant community. In recent months, they have been working to promote Latinx voices in the Wenatchee Valley’s efforts to reopen. After hearing ILSG’s concerns that local leaders were excluding the Latinx community from meaningful participation surrounding re-opening, Columbia Legal Services submitted a public records request to the Chelan Douglas Health District to investigate.
The public records revealed a troubling and premature rush to reopen Chelan and Douglas counties, with pressure by local politicians, the county sheriff, and the District’s Board of Health. These local leaders ignored the expert advice of local health care professionals and were instead driven by the needs and wants of the local business community. For example, in emails between board of health members prompted by a local business, Barry Kling, former Health District Administrator, urges County Commissioner Kevin Overbay to “not use the Health district as a tool in [political] efforts.” These efforts became so frequent that both the District Administrator and the Chair of the Board pleaded Board Members to stop forcing their personal agendas and to trust the health experts.
In another email from June that shows local government officials were attempting to justify excluding the local Latinx population from reopening discussions. In that email, the local Health District’s Health Officer explained that excluding farm worker housing from collected data made sense because “it isn’t Chelan County’s fault that there are a whole lot of migrant farmworkers entering congregate housing facilities right now.”
The ILSG submitted an op-ed to the Wenatchee World hoping to raise these concerns for the entire community. The ILSG believes reopening should be done safely, based on science and public health recommendations, and with input from essential workers who are most directly impacted. According to members of the ILSG, “We hope that by raising these issues now, we can find ways to work together going forward to protect the health of every member of our community.”
Tony Gonzalez, CLS Attorney
509-662-9681 ext.124, firstname.lastname@example.org
Krista Herling, ILSG Communications,
Adriana Hernandez, CLS Communications
Additional Public Records Documents Mentioned in Opt Ed