Dear friends, neighbors, fellow activists,
I hope you and your loved ones are doing well during this extremely difficult and frightening time. The world has been turned upside down, with untold loss of life expected, mainly because of the failures of healthcare and basic needs under global capitalism. Additionally, millions of working people in the United States are likely facing unemployment, with a predicted collapse of the capitalist economy on a scale even bigger than the Great Recession of 2008-9.
It is critically important for working people and their families that they take seriously the grave risk posed by the COVID-19 virus. Whenever possible, we should be practicing social distancing. Epidemiologists, public health scientists, and healthcare professionals are urging this, based on scientific evidence. This means:
- Stay at home and avoid all non-essential contact with others
- Limit trips for groceries, gas and other essentials.
- If you must go out, stay at least 6 feet away from others at all times.
Community members and working people are understandably wondering where they can go to get basic information on health, access to services and resources, how to collect unemployment and other benefits, and how front-line and essential workers can stay safe.
My office is working hard to turn our website into a hub for Coronavirus information.
This is no substitute, of course, for grassroots community and working-class political organizing for our rights, and to demand that the brunt of this crisis does not land on the shoulders of those of us already overburdened under the capitalist system. The Trump administration has had a disgraceful response to this pandemic. After having criminally delayed action during crucial weeks, he is now threatening to send people “back to work by Easter,” completely in contradiction to the projections from most scientists. Let’s be clear, this urgency on the part of Trump and the capitalists is not out of concern for workers losing pay or to work on the immediate needs of healthcare to save lives in the pandemic. This is because for the billionaires, their endless greed for profits outweighs our lives.
I want you to know that our office is in solidarity with all working people, with those who have had their hours cut or have been laid off, those who are essential and front-line workers are being exposed to harm everyday, with struggling small businesses, our homeless neighbors, our immigrant and undocumented community members, disabled and elderly people, and those requiring home care.
We want to continue to hear from you. Please email my office at Kshama.Sawant@Seattle.gov. My staff and I will do our best to be in touch as quickly as possible.
COVID-19 Information and Resources
Staying Safe during the Coronavirus Crisis – Public Health Resources
- Public Health Seattle King County COVID-19 Resource Page
- Washington State Department of Public Health COVID-19 Resource Page
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 Resource Page
- Information about testing for Coronavirus (unfortunately America’s private healthcare system has gravely failed to provide adequate testing)
Community Resources Available (Not Comprehensive)
- How to apply for emergency food vouchers during the Coronavirus crisis
- Meals and other resources for students and families (resources for COVID-19 Related School Closures)
- Childcare and Home Learning Options during the Coronavirus crisis
- Free lunch for students in the Rainier Beach neighborhood
- SODO community market for those in need of free groceries
Eviction Ban During the Coronavirus Crisis (which our movement won on the backs of a petition from my office with 8.600 signatures!)
- Frequently Asked Questions on the Coronavirus Residential Eviction Ban Moratorium
- For renters rights questions and assistance, contact the Tenants Union of Washington State.
Resources for Workers During the COVID-19 Crisis
- Seattle Paid Sick and Safe Time during the COVID-19 Crisis
- Contact info: (206) 256-5297 and web form
- State Paid Family Medical Leave during the COVID-19 Crisis
- Contact info: (833) 717-2273, firstname.lastname@example.org
- State Unemployment Compensation during the COVID-19 Crisis
- Contact info: (800) 318-6022, complete list of phone numbers, web form
- State Workers Compensation – Labor & Industries
- Contact info: (360) 902-5800 for L&I Switchboard
- Contact info: (360) 902-5800 for L&I Switchboard
Workplace safety during the COVID-19 Crisis
- OSHA Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19
- National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health Guides for the Coronavirus Crisis
What To Do if You Think Your Workplace is Not Safe
- COVID-19 Information for Non-Union Workers (from the Communications Workers of America Union)
This is not a comprehensive list of course, but my office and I hope it’s helpful.
Also, look for upcoming emails from my office as we share with you:
- How can we fight for and win the right to health and safety of essential and front-line workers (and can workers have a say in what work is defined as socially essential in this period of extreme danger, when scientists are insisting on social distancing?)
- The challenges of getting tested for Coronavirus, and the stunning failures of the for-profit healthcare system.
- How we need to get organized (online, on email and social media, and on the phone) to make big business and big banks pay for this crisis, not working people.
- How we need to make sure we unite working people and struggling small businesses, and not allow neoliberal politicians to divide and conquer, while the rich are getting Trump bailouts.
- How working people and renters have won some key victories during this pandemic, how that won’t be enough, and how we’ll need to fight hard.
Solidarity, and please stay safe,