The power of collective action
Employees Have Walked Out at Instacart and Amazon Over Hazardous Working Conditions
On-demand gig workers have been deemed “essential,” but have not received equipment or protections to ensure their health and safety.
Coronavirus is wreaking havoc on the global workforce, and freelancers are among the hardest hit. We’ve compiled a list of resources and aid.
A week ago, if you would have told me I’d be stuck in my home self-quarantined and cut off from the outside world, I wouldn’t have believed you.
But as COVID-19 tightens its grip on the world, much of the workforce is now stuck inside—and stuck trying to figure out how to survive. While epidemiologists estimate that 70 percent of the global population will be infected by coronavirus, it’s untold how many gig workers will lose work as a result of the pandemic. To put things in perspective: in a sombering move that likely foreshadows the road ahead for all of us, six Bay Area counties announced plans on Monday to enforce “shelter in place” orders for the next three weeks.
So what does all of this mean for the gig economy? Events have been canceled. Work is drying up. And the freelancers of the world are asking, “what now?” Yet, there’s still a silver lining: folks are coming together, pooling resources to provide support, and building new communities of care for creatives. Don’t know where to find the resources? Supermaker’s got you covered. We’ve trawled the internet to find the best resources for you, our Supermaker community, in these trying times. This is a growing list that will be updated as we continue to find resources for community and support, so check back often. Remember, right now, we’re all we got. Stay strong.
If you’re a freelancer, gig worker, or creative chances are you’ve got time today, so why not check out Jo-Ná Williams, Esq.’s free (!!!) contract workshop? Taking place tonight (Tuesday, March 17th) at 7 p.m. EST, the founder, attorney, and instructor will be giving a free workshop via Zoom in which you’ll learn about the most important contract clauses to pay attention to right now, what your legal options are for recouping lost wages, and all other sorts of important legal info, I’m sure. Register to attend this workshop here, or via the link in Jo-Na’s bio. Bonus: you can find other really useful resources if you follow her IG and via her Linktree. Thank you Jon-Ná, on behalf of the culture.
Freelancers and artists are obviously among the hardest hit right now, and this list is for us! As the creators of this compendium write, this is “an aggregated list of FREE resources, opportunities, and financial relief options available to artists of all disciplines.” The administrators will regularly update via this form. The list is filled with general preparedness resources, emergency funding opportunities, and even advocacy and legal information. HUGE shoutout to those organizing and managing this.
And another shoutout to p0stb1nary, the arts platform and network behind the recently-launched mutual aid fund @pb.directory. As the DC-based collective focused on uplifting Black, non-white, and gender expansive artists writes on their IG page, “Mutual aid is the voluntary exchange of services and resources for mutual benefit. With music shows and other events being cancelled, we understand the astounding effect this has on the livelihood of independent artists - from musicians and DJs to graphic designers and photographers. Combating COVID-19 requires a cross community and collective effort.”So, they’ve recently launched a directory of artists and creatives in an effort to help get people hired. If you’re a freelance artist hard hit by the current emergency, visit this profile to get some info about becoming part of the movement.
Thank goodness for the benevolent wealthy. As times get harder, many companies and individuals are starting their own relief funds dedicated to helping those impacted by the spread of the virus. CovertKit has pledged a whole $50,000 towards providing financial support for creatives who need help paying for childcare, groceries, medical treatment, rent or mortgage. Apply here for a $500 grant.
Leveler is an aptly named peer-to-peer donation fund that is literally leveling the playing field when it comes to the huge problem income inequality is presenting to the relief response. “The leveler is a tool for salaried workers to distribute wealth evenly across a database of freelancers, service industry and gig economy folks who are impacted by COVID-19 health and safety restrictions.” To donate visit the website, but only from a mobile device (this is important!), where you can click “distribute” to be assigned to a group of 10 people and give an equal amount of money to each person included. I would like to tell the brand studio behind the fund, @dba.nyc, you are appreciated—in my Tupac voice of course.
The future is female and so are the freelancers. Freelancing Females is a godsend for women looking for work as self-employed creatives or freelancers during this economic freefall. Peruse their website here for a ton of information on how to get through this pandemic if you’re a freelancing femme.
According to the website,, HowlRound is a free and open platform for theatre-makers worldwide that amplifies progressive, disruptive ideas about the art form and facilitates connection between diverse practitioners. Yaaaassss HowlRound, we love it. HowlRound values diverse aesthetics, diversity and inclusion, and community which is why they launched the “Artists in a Time of a Global Pandemic Panel” that you can check out on demand whenever you have a free moment. And as we consider new ways to gather (and co-create) in the age of COVID-19, might I suggest checking out their guide on how to livestream using IRoundTV. As their website states, “any organization can livestream their event for free, and access to livestream on the channel is first come, first serve. We provide in-depth technical support, training, and help in getting the word out. We promise it’s not as hard as it may seem!”
Much love to this organization which provides outreach, community education, and peer support for sex workers. Sex workers are among the hardest hit by this pandemic and as the Sex Worker’s Outreach Project Brooklyn chapter (@SWOPBrooklyn) puts it “sex workers around the world are carrying the weight of stigma on our backs amid the COVID-19 pandemic.” The chapter, which is part of a national organization, has created a fund to help sex workers in the New York City area as they deal with a dramatic decrease in clients during this global outbreak. Please check out the Go Fund Me to donate or email email@example.com if you would like to apply for assistance. And to the sex workers, who are some of the hardest working gig workers there are—we see you, and we love you!
GLPsani@protonmail.comThe Greenlight Project is a Seattle-based Harm Reduction effort that provides direct outreach to street-based sex workers and drug users. According to the crowdfunding campaign they just launched, “Sex Workers around the world are carrying the weight of stigma on our backs amid the COVID-19 pandemic.” Seattle sex workers are extremely at risk; it’s been reported that the the city has experienced over 900 cases of coronavirus as of Monday. As the Greenlight Project writes:
“Most sex workers are unable to take off time, pre-emptively self-quarantine, or ride out the lack of clients until work picks up again. Indoor workers and dancers have been increasingly turning to street based work in this time, exposing themselves to more coercive clients and less safe working conditions. We need this fund to keep our community housed, fed, and well cared-for as we as a country manage the COVID-19 pandemic and its surrounding panic.”
Most sex workers have no labor rights, if any, and are one of our most marginalized communities worldwide. If you would like to apply for relief, email GLPsani@protonmail.com. The fund is prioritizing the most vulnerable sex workers—POC, trans, street-based, and immuno-compromised workers. The fund is ran by the national Sex Workers Outreach Project, so if you would like to start a similar fund this is a great network to connect with. Please email GLPsxwsani@gmail.com for more information on creating a mutual aid source for sex workers losing work during COVID-19.
Chicago just ain’t Chicago without its art scene; but, like artists everywhere, those in the famed cultural center are struggling to make it. Many artists live paycheck to paycheck, depending on the next gig to pay next month’s bills. So, as you can imagine, those who make us laugh, cry, feel, and see the world for what it is are hard hit by the new norm of social distancing. As avoiding large gatherings becomes less about our social anxiety and more about our social safety, performers and creators can’t work. National emergencies expose the inherent inequity in our systems and most artists who are undervalued in a capitalist society have no safety net. If you would like to donate to this fund, click here. If you are an artist in need, take this application survey and apply for relief.
Author of So You Want to Talk About Race Ijeoma Oluo has created a fund for creatives in the Seattle area who are losing wages due to cancellations in the hardest hit city in America. We truly appreciate you sis; in just one week, the fund has already raised upwards of half its goal. This is already a scary and tragic time without having to deal with the weight of financial turpitude. If you are an individual artist living in the greater Seattle area in need of funds, click here to take their survey and apply for relief.
You may have heard of @urdoingreat from their viral, and hilarious, videos on tik-tok. If you haven’t please stop what you’re doing (after you read this) and check out their account for a brief moment of levity during the chaos. Gem, who is the queer Black phenom behind the viral account, has joined the COVID-19 crowdfunding movement and together with orgs Decrim NY, BYP100, and Black Alliance for Just Immigration has started a financial support and quarantine aid fund for Black folx living in the New York City area. The fund, which you can donate to here, has already reached $10,000 but as the pandemic continues it is likely they will need your help. You can also apply for aid here, and offer other kinds of support to those in need here. In the words of Gem “this virus has proven once again that we are all we have so let's show up for each other in the ways that matter.” ‘Preciate you Gem, UR DOIN’ GREAT!