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Black Lives Matter Walkout

On July 20, 2020, thousands of employees across the country walked out to show their solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement through the “Strike for Black Lives.” The goal: shine a light on income inequality and systemic racism that have become more acute in the Black community during this pandemic. It was organized by more than 60 labor unions as well as social and racial justice organizations. Four primary demands were identified by organizers:

“Justice for Black communities, that elected official use their authority to rewrite the rules so that Black people can thrive, that corporations dismantle racism, white supremacy and economic exploitation including at work, and that every worker has the opportunity to join a union.”

Individuals who could not walk out but supported the protest were encouraged to take a knee or stop what they were doing for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, which was the amount of time Minneapolis police officers kneeled on George Floyd’s neck. Specific numbers from the event are not known but it is believed that approximately 1500 janitors in San Francisco protested together as well as 6,000 nurses from 85 nursing homes in the New York area. Front line health care workers, transportation, and food services groups were included. In Washington D.C., the protesters were seeking the passage of the next COVID-19 aid package. Many of the protests took place at McDonald’s locations where workers feel steps have not been taken to adequately protect them. Airbnb publicly supported the protest, providing suggestions for its employees on how to join the Strike for Black Lives Movement, allowing workers paid time off.