Published on November 25th, 2020 | by Candace Simpson0
Solidarity Is Essential: Doing our part for service industry workers
I was on the phone with a friend Saturday (because that’s all I do these days), and she referenced a story that threw me into a spiral of anger, rage, and sadness.
She’d heard that a waiter received a text from her boss, asking her to come in early for work because there was a “record number of brunch reservations.” This all happened, of course, on November 7, the day that the U.S. Presidential Election was called for President-Elect Joseph Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris.
My heart immediately dipped into the pit of my stomach. It felt like people were treating servers as disposable—putting workers on the cross to celebrate an electoral win. A good number of brunch reservations means several people will be in one place, drunk, unmasked, and among vulnerable staff. There are a host of reasons to be skeptical of how people across the country could relate to this phenomenon. People want to celebrate, and they want to do it at brunch outside—or even at an indoor event. For more on that line of thinking and other radical takes, follow Hood Communist Blog.
In the middle of a pandemic, this instinct is not only troublesome but factually dangerous. At the time of my writing, we have just hit the milestone of ten million U.S. cases of coronavirus, compared to 50 million cases worldwide. We account for one fifth of global cases, which means we are disproportionately represented as a nation. If there is one thing that the United States is actually united in today, it is trending upwards for coronavirus cases. So, who should we be in solidarity with? Who should we be in prayer about? Who deserves more care and compassion?
Workers. Specifically workers in the service industry.
As calls to “reopen America” resound around the country, essential workers are being called “heroes,” but they’re not getting the care and support they need. And due to existing realities of race, patriarchy, ableism and queer-antagonism, the mandate to work already disproportionately impacts vulnerable people specifically.
How does a corporation like Amazon manage such a reality? With well-produced propaganda commercials and labor-organizing informants. In fact, Amazon recently deleted listings for two job openings in which the duties included snitching on “labor organizing threats against the company.” Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, is among a handful of billionaires who have actually made a profit during this pandemic. The attempt to squash any worker dissent is rooted in greed.
So, what can we do? What will we do? After all, this is an inspirational site. What’s inspirational about this?
As always, we must remember that Powers and Principalities fear organized masses. As Black Believers, we must remember that it was once quite illegal for us to gather without surveillance.
We had to learn how to speak in code, how to move like the “g” in lasagna, and how to share information without the luxury of printed materials and the internet. If you are a worker, please know that you have a legally protected right to organize a union and advocate for yourselves and others.
For all of us, here is a community pod mapping resource from Dr. Connie Wun and Mia Mingus. This is a practical tool that can help you ask deeper questions about the needs and assets of your community. The word “pod” has been used a lot lately to describe a distinct “bubble” of designated people who can safely socialize together due to coordinated testing and distancing behaviors. Some of our most majestic animals, like whales and dolphins, live in complex and dynamic pods. It is natural to desire community. It is crucial to find meaningful community spaces that help us reduce the potential for harm.
We dream—and work towards—a world in which you do not have to beg, explain, or rationalize your right to exist and flourish. There are more than enough resources on this Earth to sustain the living beings here. Sadly, the intentional choices for some have made dignified living a dream.
We can dream, though. Together. In our own way.
Candace Simpson is an educator, minister and writer. She believes that Heaven is a Revolution that can happen right here on Earth. She invites others into that philosophy at www.fishsandwichheaven.com