Essential, Not Expendable: BLM DC, SEIU 1199, and ShutDownDC hold three concurrent moving protests

Washington, DC, April 24 – This Monday, April 27, activists with Black Lives Matter DC, SEIU 1199, and ShutDownDC are holding three simultaneous moving protests with cars, vans, and bicycles to celebrate essential workers, as well as to confront the politicians and corporate executives who are putting our communities at risk. The caravans are part of the Earth Day to May Day celebration, which started on April 22, the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.

The protests will include a live go-go band on a moving 26-foot flatbed trailer. It will call on a number of worksites where essential workers are being forced to work in unsafe conditions. Activists plan to support them and simultaneously condemn the institutions that are treating workers as expendable. The caravans will also visit sites such as grocery stores and hospitals, where activists will celebrate essential workers in a safe, socially distant way.

“Essential workers have literally become the Covid-19 task force,” said Nee Nee Taylor, Direct Action Coordinator for Black Lives Matter DC. “At the same time we have loved ones who have been sentenced to death in prison or in jail,” she said, referring to the exponential number of coronavirus cases in jails in DC and across the country.

The Essential, Not Expendable protest is part of the 10-day Earth Day To May Day action organized by the ShutDownDC alliance. Between April 22 and May 1, activists are taking bold direct action online AND in person to disrupt the interlocking systems that threaten our collective survival. Activities so far have included three days of live content across the globe with hundreds of thousands tuning in, and in DC, guerrilla gardening led by Extinction Rebellion.

Each day of the Earth Day To May Day action focuses on a specific theme, including local struggles for justice, communities that are sacrificed for fossil fuel extraction, and the essential workers who are the heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Each day’s theme is as follows:

April 27 Essential, Not Expendable April 28 Bail Out the People and #CancelRent April 29 Hold the Corporations Accountable April 30 Keep Fossil Fuels in the Ground May 1 International Workers Day

ShutDownDC is an alliance of people committed to an array of social justice issues, coming together to highlight the overlapping causes of the climate crisis in the United States. Across the issues of climate, race, immigration, inequality, and labor and against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, hundreds of activists are demanding a just, healthy, and sustainable world. On September 23, 2019, the alliance shut down rush-hour traffic in the nation’s capital with 2,000 people and 17 blockades at key intersections. The alliance demands transformative action on the climate crisis, while emphasizing the connection between climate change and other social issues including migration, war, race, and gender justice.