OCC Distributes COVID Hygiene Materials to the Ohio General Assembly
In an act of compassion and concern for good health, the Columbus-based Ohio Council of Churches presented each member of the Senate with a face mask for use in reducing the spread of the coronavirus.
As we observe Ash Wednesday and the beginning of the Lenten Season, one of the things we grieve is the lack of mask wearing in the Ohio Statehouse during the budget season. It is our hope that our act of good will show our genuine concern for the health and well-being of all who enter the halls of the Ohio Statehouse.
"Ash Wednesday is a time of reflection and introspection. Rather than sprinkle ashes, the Ohio Council of Churches delivered face masks and hand sanitizer in a call for a commitment from the Ohio General Assembly to observe hygienic practices to lessen the spread of COVID.” said Brandi Slaughter, policy director of the Ohio Council of Churches. She continued “We encourage everyone to sanitize their bodies with extreme precautions as an outward symbol of the sanitization of their inward person, just as baptism is an essential outward sign of an inward possession.”
Rev. Dr. Jack Sullivan Jr., executive director of the Ohio Council of Churches, remarked “The Lenten season’s urgent focus of the redemptive love of Jesus conveys the non-negotiable expectation that Christians love their neighbors with the same vibrancy as they love themselves. Not all who love must be Christians, but all Christians must love. Loving concern for our neighbors is the driving force behind mask wearing.”
A double masked, Rev. Slaughter, a long time lobbyist and advocate for the marginalized, describes the challenge of lobbying in the Statehouse when COVID precautions aren’t followed, “All of us have had to adapt as a result of COVID in one way or another, but it’s tremendously difficult to have any real impact on the state budget, when you are risking your life to advocate for those in poverty who need the government’s help the most. I had both breast cancer and COVID last year, and it’s not lost on me that each time you leave your house you are taking a risk. If the Ohio General Assembly was truly interested in developing policy and hearing varying perspectives, which in my opinion makes for better policy, they would allow virtual testimony. That would help me mitigate the risk, because representation matters and this work is too important to ”sit-out”.”
Ultimately, staffers in the offices seemed appreciative of the gesture. The Council is looking forward to delivering masks in the House sometime in the near future.