Although I am a minority I still consider myself to be privilege in parts of my identity and what I am capable of doing with it during times like these. I have tried to be productive through social media organizing this week. Since most of my professors have not reached out to me or my peers yet regarding class syllabus changes filling my time by supporting my peers and organizations in need of help is fulfilling.
As a member of the grassroots organization Cosecha, Mass I decided to reach out to folks in old chats and friends who I knew are leading support groups at the moment to ask if I could be of any help. I was very happy to join zoom calls and offer my bilingual skills for support in translating documents or interpreting during calls. Not long after this, I was asked to join a zoom call to help interpret Spanish-English. I did not think this would be difficult. But it was! The zoom call was almost two hours and it at least had 10 folks participating and sharing their thoughts. For every person that spoke I had to type on the chat the translation. If the person spoke in English I would type it in Spanish and if they spoke in Spanish I would type it in English. I had not imagined it to be so fast and so much work. I have translated and interpreted in many spaces in the past but having been gone an entire school year abroad it was a bit difficult to jump back on it. I am glad folks were so nice and friendly. It felts great to help.
Additionally, as a member of the Brandeis Labor Coalition (BLC) club while on campus I am very active on any movement or issue the club is working on. The club has a really good relationship with campus workers and is currently working with them and their union to meet their demands during this pandemic. Because dining and other outsourced workers at Brandeis have been laid off with no pay in the midst of this global pandemic we as students have been organizing to make sure their demands are met. If this crisis has made one thing clear, it’s that our community’s health and safety is deeply tied to its individual members’ well-being. Brandeis has left dining and outsourced workers with no financial security in these difficult times, which strongly contradicts its core values of social justice. Recently, MIT, Harvard, and Tufts University agreed to guarantee full wages and benefits to their dining workers during the COVID-19 crisis. The club organized through social media creating flyers, interactive posts and zoom calls all in which we asked for support in asking demanding Brandeis to commit to compensating its dining and outsourced workers with full wages and benefits for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis. I did my part by calling all lines that we were asked to call and make these demands and I also send out emails to campus directors and joined zoom call meetings with BLC.
If I am not directly working with these support systems I try my hardest to be supportive to my friends that are working nonstop. I am so lucky to have friends who are part of the lucha and are constantly working and adapting to new forms of social movement action and support.