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
Danielle was Scalawag's founding Race & Place Editor. A Black queer lawyer and geographer at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, her research focuses on environmental justice and the racial politics of development in Black towns and communities.