November 30, 2021

Pursuing Equity

This post was last updated on December 8, 2021. As new policies are announced, FPI will update this page.

As Florida’s response to COVID-19 takes front and center, concern grows for low-income families who struggle to take precautions against the spread of the virus. Although Congress has passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to address, at least in part,  the public health crisis and economic fallout from COVID-19, many barriers continue to keep struggling families from accessing the assistance they need during the pandemic. As Florida initiates policies implementing the Act and addressing other barriers to the safety net, FPI will update this form. When available, hyperlinks are provided to agency documents or statements that provide greater detail  about the new policy.

On March 22, 2020, FPI and 44 other organizations sent a letter to Governor DeSantis, leadership in the Legislature and agency heads to urge action on 47 specific policy changes to reduce unnecessary barriers for Florida’s safety net programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. See the letter here.

At Florida Policy Institute (FPI), our values are our north star. They guide our work and reflect who we seek to be: we pursue equity, lead with integrity, share power, and act with kindness. The following reflection is part of FPI’s new “In Our Words” series, the goal of which is to make space for those stories and experiences that help shape people’s outlooks on policy and government. 

I am a Bengali-American woman, an artist, and I am also part of Gen Z. The Zoomer zeitgeist is that of growing up on the World Wide Web, hyper-aware of current issues, being able to consume endless amounts of information right at the end of our fingertips. Gen Z’ers have been raised on exposure to everything and accepting everyone. As digital natives of the internet, this generation has also instantaneously witnessed the injustices that plague our world: wealth disparities, police violence, and the disproportionate effect that climate change has on marginalized low-income communities. It all starts at the root. These injustices are perpetuated by systemic barriers historically upheld by institutions and backwards policies. Gen Z’ers are visionaries and fighters with uncompromising idealism. We dismantle unjust systems with fervor because we are the ones who have to deal with the consequences of past choices. We unapologetically protest the rampant inequities we see in the world and voice the urgent needs of the future. We believe in an inclusive, caring, and expansive community and think that everyone deserves a seat at the table, starting at the foundation: with advancing policies so that each person has an equal opportunity to thrive. 

At Florida Policy Institute, I’m new. As a recent communications associate hire, I am already living out my values of what it means to be a brown woman, artist, and Gen Z’er pursuing equity, and I already see it throughout everything we do in the workplace. Equity is important because state policies and budgets affect everyone; all Floridians benefit from a more equitable Florida. At FPI, we believe that every Floridian should have the chance to prosper and have equitable access to health care, education, housing, and jobs with no barriers based on race or ethnicity. From creating a blind rubric system to hire new employees without bias, to researching data and creating graphics for the Child Well-Being Index, pursuing equity runs through all of our actions. The policies we impact today can build a legacy of equity for the future of Florida, a future where Zoomers — and all of us — will thrive. 

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