Each year, we mark the summer solstice with a day-long sit-out that brings attention to the fact that the experience of homelessness is not easier in the summer. The threat of violence, the lack of resources, and the need for policy solutions continues no matter the season. Further, we feel that the importance of the event this year is heightened given the intersections of homelessness, race, and COVID19. We know that Black, Indigenous, and People of Color are disproportionately represented both in homeless communities and in rates of illness and death from COVID19. In Maine, African Americans are over 10 times more likely to experience homelessness and 20 times more likely to contract COVID19. We know that we cannot end homelessness without ending racism. During this year’s Longest Day of Homelessness, we seek to call attention to these disparities and to highlight solutions. As you can imagine, we have been re-imagining what the Longest Day of Homelessness will look like this year with respect to the pandemic. We are happy to announce that we will be bringing the event online this year! On Friday, June 19, we will be posting once per hour from 8am to 6pm on Preble Street social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn), amplifying the message that every day of homelessness during the COVID19 pandemic is the longest day of homelessness. We are writing to both inform you about the day and to invite you to participate in our “social media storm” at 12pm. At this hour we will be sharing our most powerful content and we hope that you will amplify our message, either by reposting a post of ours or creating your own. Attached is a list of sample posts and hashtags. Our goal for the day is to remind everyone that we cannot forget about the needs of people experiencing homelessness during this pandemic; your participation will help us achieve that goal!
Thank you, Homeless Voices for Justice Benjamin Martineau, Carolyn Silvius, Cheryl Harkins, dee Clarke, Jim Devine, Mike Stuckmyer