As the past few weeks have made clear, our social support systems for everything from housing to healthcare to income are now so paltry that the already devastating coronavirus will have far deeper impacts in the U.S. than in many other nations. And as we know, whatever troubles the country, oppresses the South. Our eviction rates are already the highest in the nation, most of our states did not expand Medicaid, many of our rural hospitals closed, too many of our workers aren’t protected by unions. Our vulnerabilities are tangible.
We also know that our communities show up for each other and are always demanding better from public officials and corporations that so often misrepresent us and profit from our labor and resources at the expense of our health and well being.
This pandemic is no exception. You’ve already seen the mutual aid efforts across our region. After some research and crowdsourcing, we present to you a list of COVID-19 political demands from across the South. From decarceration to eviction moratoriums, many of these demands represent the vision of our beloved region that many of us would like to live in without this crisis. Because even without coronavirus, housing, healthcare, and education are still matters of life or death.
If you have a petition, platform, or set of demands to support workers, housing, incarcerated people, or healthcare that you don’t see on this list (we’re looking at you in particular, West Virginia), please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
See our other COVID-19 coverage:
- In pandemic times, radical imagination matters more than ever.
- COVID-19: Context, tools, and strategies for workers from organizers and experts.
- Op-ed: Stay-at-home policy isn’t effective without economic security and education.
- Neighbors helping neighbors: a list of coronavirus mutual aid efforts in the South.
- Detainment centers are not equipped to handle the coronavirus, experts say.
- Social justice in a time of social distancing.
COVID-19 protections and prevention at all AL jails and prisons
Jail bailout in Montgomery
No evictions during COVID-19
Florida community demands from grassroots organizations
Multi-county petition to release jail populations
Decarceration in Miami-Dade community
Petition to Governor DeSantis to protect Florida farmworkers
Housing Justice League COVID-19 Tenant Organizing 101
Suspend mortgage and rent payments for 90 days
Demands for University Campus Workers
Protect Kentuckians facing income loss due to COVID-19
New Orleans hospitality workers demand income replacement
Protections for and Release of Incarcerated Youth
Petition to The Morial Convention Center Authority to allocate its $100 million surplus to provide financial relief to hospitality workers in New Orleans.
Letter to Governor Reeves about protections for incarcerated people
Open letter from Mississippi organizations to release ICE detainees and state prisoners
Demands for COVID-19 testing and medical care for incarcerated in Mississippi prisons
Survival and Beyond's 10-part platform for North Carolina during COVID-19
NC United for Survival and Beyond coalition's petition to send 1,000 letters to representatives
Relief for NC Public School employees
Demands from NC Public Service Workers
Include mutual aid in stay at home order in Durham
Duke University Graduate Student Union demands
Rent Strike Raleigh
Rent/Mortgage Strike Durham
Coalition for a Just Virus Response: petition to the Greensboro City Council and the Guilford County Board of Commissioners
Recommendations to state executive, legislative leadership from NC Families Care Coalition
South Carolina ACLU demands release of incarcerated people vulnerable to COVID-19
Tennessee Freedom Caucus statewide demands
Nashville community groups demand actions to prevent COVID-19 outbreak in Davidson County Jail
Paid time off, health insurance, and safe working conditions for Nashville workers
Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition open letter to public officials responding to COVID-19
Rent Strike and Additional Demands in Central Texas
A Pandemic Platform for the People of Richmond
Richmond Rent Strike
Multiple Southern States
Civil Rights groups demand coronavirus protections for incarcerated people (MS, LA, FL)
Just and humane response to outbreak in jails and prisons
Free phone service in prisons
Prison Policy Initiative guide to COVID-19 responses
Southern Poverty Law Center demands ICE act to save immigrants trapped in detention centers
Demands from grassroots organizations:
Grassroots organizations respond to COVID-19
Movement 4 Black Lives COVID-19 platform
Right to the City Alliance petition to cancel rent and mortgages
Highlander's petition targeting Southern governors
Protections for domestic workers:
Financial relief for domestic workers during COVID-19
Protections for the media:
Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press demands media as a protected “essential service”