Essential workers to strike nationwide for BLM

People on the frontlines are organizing to support police reform, worker solidarity and health equality

Black Lives Matter protest California
A protester holds up a sign during the YG x BLMLA x BLDPWR protest and march on June 07, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images)

The Movement for Black Lives (MB4L) has organized a nationwide strike titled, “Strike for Black Lives,” which is set to take place on July 20. According to the Associated Press, the strike will include workers in 25 states from a variety of essential services, including ride-share drivers, nursing home workers and food delivery and grocery store workers expected to not report for work and march on that day.

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For those that can’t strike, they will leave their jobs for over 8 minutes – the amount of time George Floyd was held down by a police officer’s knee before his death.

The organizers, The Movement for Black Lives, are a collective of organizations working to build communities that lead politics, culture and policy in a more equitable direction. 

“Across the country, workers will rise up to strike for Black lives. Together, we will withhold our most valuable asset — our labor — in support of dismantling racism and white supremacy to bring about fundamental changes in our society, economy and workplaces,” their website says.

Organizations partnering on the Strike for Black Lives include MB4L, the Service Employees International Union, the American Federation of Teachers the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the Fight for $15 and many more.

“Our members have been on a journey … to understanding why we cannot win economic justice without racial justice. This strike for Black lives is a way to take our members’ understanding about that into the streets,” SEIU president Mary Kay Henry told the Associated Press. The union has over 2 million members in the U.S. and Canada.

According to their site, the strike has four specific demands:

  1. Justice for Black communities, with an unequivocal declaration that Black Lives Matter, is a necessary first step to winning justice for all workers.
  2. Elected officials and candidates at every level use their executive, legislative, and regulatory authority to begin to rewrite the rules and reimagine our economy and democracy so that Black communities can thrive.
  3. Corporations take immediate action to dismantle racism, white supremacy, and economic exploitation wherever it exists, including in our workplaces.
  4. Every worker has the opportunity to form a union, no matter where they work.
Black Lives Matter Protest In London
Protesters are seen during a Black Lives Matter protest on July 12, 2020 in London, England. The Black Lives Matter protests began here in late May in solidarity with US demonstrations over the death of an African-American man, George Floyd, in police custody. (Photo by Peter Summers/Getty Images)

Racial inequities are only the tip of the mounting conversation around policy reform. People around the world have taken to the streets protesting and demonstrating while surviving a global health pandemic because COVID-19 has exacerbated every inequity. 

“The reason why, on July 20th, you’re going to see strikes and protests and the walk-offs and socially distanced sit-ins and voter registration outreach is because thousands and thousands of poor, low-wage workers of every race, creed and color understand that racial, economic, health care, immigration, climate and other justice fights are all connected,” the Rev. William Barber II, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign told NBC News.

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Even if they can’t join the march, there are four ways people can get involved in making lasting change, according to organizers:

  • 8:46 Pledge
  • Attend an event
  • Host an event
  • Strike

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