How Labor Organizing Can Help Women and People of Color Unemployed Due to COVID-19 2020-05-13


America's wealth gap is expected to widen due to Kobe. Nineteen we know for instance that women and people of color earn less money and have less wealth what that means. When they hit a time of unemployment they have simply less to fall back on. How and why the pandemic hitting communities of color so hard that's our top story. Today on the takeaway for Wednesday may thirteenth. I'm Shumita Basu. Also we talk with the Mayor of Denver about how the Mile High City is weathering corona virus. Public Health administrators really had developed strategy includes a homeowner that will help us to begin to practice every curve which we were successfully able to the flat and a look at the theater industry right now where all the world's an empty stage like many things we have persevered. We'll find a way and it may not look like what we were. We imagined but you know I think it's important to have a stage from which to tell our stories. I the wealth gap and covert nineteen is a real risk. That you will trigger an that. You might not be able to control which impact docs will set you back. Not only leading suffering and death avoided could even set you back on the road to try to get economic recovery this week. Anthony Fauci the country's top medical expert for the covert nineteen crisis testified virtually in front of the Senate Health Committee. He urged the country to refrain from opening up too early and he said the death toll from the virus in the United States could be much higher than the reported. Eighty thousand people so far and as the Health Crisis Continues Cove. Nineteen has also pushed us over the cliff toward an economic crisis. We're still bracing for the impact in the month of April alone. More than twenty million people filed for unemployment in the United States that is a staggeringly high number the US now has an unemployment rate of fourteen point seven percent and to put that in perspective we have not seen anything that high since the Times of the Great Depression and even then the rate took a year and a half to get very high here. It happened within a month. That's Lean Wyndham. She's the associate director of the Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the working poor at Georgetown University. The workers who are affected the most are of course those who are working in hospitality and service jobs and there's something else striking about who's hit the hardest though it's no surprise to communists who've seen this trend again and again we know that people of Color and women are the most likely to have lost their jobs. The unemployment is hitting women and people of Color even harder. I spoke with lean to discuss the significance of these numbers along with Aaron. Ross Coleman in Ida b wells fellow at the tight media institute covering race and Economics We know for instance that women and people of color earn less money and have less wealth and what that means when they hit a time of unemployment and when they hit hard times as they have simply less to fall back on so you know the fact that women only make eighty two cents on the dollar to what men earn black women earn. Just sixty two cents for every dollar earned by men that means that at times of unemployment when they lose their jobs they they just are going to be harder hit Aaron. Can you say more about how these unemployment numbers breakdown across racial lines? So new Desegregated. It's even worse picture. Hispanic unemployment's at eighteen percent black unemployment said sixteen percent the of white and Asian unemployment or both At fourteen in you already are starting to see some of the disparate kind of breakdowns. That have happened impasse. Recessions during the previous the great recession I it was similarly disparate national diplomas at nine percent and then a black unemployment was at sixteen percent and then going back to the Great Depression. You see similar kind of really big gaps with twenty four percent nationally and fifty percent for black people. So there's the old saying that when America gets a cold Black Americans get the flu. And it's like now we all have chronic so it's a pretty tough lane. What about the gender gap did unemployment shakeout in a similar way in two thousand and eight in two thousand and eight? We saw job losses Were more heavily. Worn by men Often and the construction industry for instance this time around. It's different women are losing their jobs. At a faster rate the unemployment rate among women right now is fifteen point. Five percent compared to thirteen percent among men. That's a big gender gap and we. We saw gender gap although it wasn't as large in two thousand eight but it was reversed so this time because of the nature of the kinds of jobs that are being lost that tend to be more female dominated Women are absolutely shouldering A lot of the burden in this round Aaron we also saw a very long recovery process. Take place since two thousand eight and for many people that recovery was only being felt recently. How do you perceive it will be for us to bounce back to a recovery from this? I think a lot of that depends on the public policy response. And you know. What policymakers decided to do to intervene? But right now it's tough in. There are a lot of obstacles ahead for a lot of families for a lot of workers particularly black and Brown workers. You know unemployment was just starting to dip down into the low single digits. You know that was a talking point. That trump was very proud of the lowest black unemployment on record. And that's because you saw a recovery where you know. More people were starting to join the Labor Force. Employers are becoming less discriminatory. And you know who they would hire Just based off race and skill and stuff like that so you earlier last year at the end of last year two thousand nineteen we were just getting to those really good kind of unemployment numbers were people. Were being able to participate and now here. We are at the worst recession since the Great Depression Lane right now. There's a lot of talk about essential workers and I'm sitting in New York and here many of those essential workers are black and Brown people. What might recession look like for essential workers across the country? One in three jobs held by women are considered essential so a recovery for essential workers could mean that they have jobs they have work but will the work be healthy. Will it be safe? Will it be jobs that they can can go to with confidence? And I'd say right now. Many of those workers are reporting to work and are really risking the safety For themselves and for their families and I think that You know we have a long way to go before Those essential workers who we depend on those cashiers. Those nurses those. Emt workers are are fully protected and are fully safe. You know. I'm thinking about unions and labour organizing lane. Hefley seen a difference between how unionized workers and non unionized workers fair during past recessions. I'm curious how Labour organizing can possibly help black and Brown people and women specifically so there absolutely is a union difference in terms of wages. You know I mentioned before. There'S A gender wage gap. There's a race wage gap unions closed that. And so you know. A worker who has a union makes more money than those who don't women and people of color or even more likely to do better than their non union counterparts So Unions addresses lutely Raise WAGES INCREASE BENEFITS. And frankly give workers more say at a time when they really need it work place. You know you saw that. I think for instance. In some of the unionized grocery stores those were the first ones to have the plexiglas up. Should be making sure that that there was safety For for their workforce you know and what we're seeing across the country is that there's lots more interest in unions. Lots of workers have been striking Just since the beginning of March there have been over one hundred and fifty wildcat strikes. These are strikes that are not necessarily called by the Union. They are from the grass roots when people feel that their safety is not being respected and so there there have been a number of strikes Across the country and I think There's also just been a renewed interest in general and the idea of organizing unions. Do we know if there are any organizations or at the local or state level or even local or state level governments? That are really bracing for what these unemployment numbers mean. Is Anyone truly prepared for this? I don't think so. I mean recessions or something that like state. Local officials really depend on the federal government for support just because they oftentimes don't have the budgets that allow for Kind of deficit spending in order to offset you know like cuts to their budget or just you know. Large scale stimulus so it. It really often in my experience. Just speaking economists and politicians. It's something that they definitely relying on the federal government to help them get through. Just see something of this size and scope. I would just add to that that in this country it is very clear right now that the way that we do our social safety net is particularly poorly. Put together to deal with this kind of a massive pandemic a huge crisis. You know Workers Healthcare comes through their employers up to forty. Three million people may lose their healthcare and this crisis in addition our unemployment is for it goes through the states It doesn't go through the federal level at one system. And so you know we are particularly poorly suited to dealing with this level of a crisis so in the absence of those kinds of social safety nets like you said Lane. What are some solutions that we can look to to sort of soften the blow of this economic crisis? I think that in the immediate term the federal government has to step up. There needs to be more stimulus. We absolutely need that cushion in this country. And then I think that Our leaders need to follow where the people are right now. Which is that. The people are demanding. A more robust social safety net people fully understand at this point why are employer provided health care system is not working. Why people need paid sick leave? Why even we need page healthcare? I think it's very obvious to people. And I think over the next several years that we MESA leader stepping up and beginning to make some really fundamental changes in policy in this country. What have we learned from the past regarding the impact of recessions and rising unemployment numbers on elections? Like how can we expect this to manifest itself at the polls this November? I think one of the interesting things is just the way that this is kind of changing the way people are talking about elections and the way the candidates are talking about themselves like it was earlier last year that Bernie Sanders framed his Democratic Socialism in terms of what. Fdr Did earlier this week. You see Joe Biden in New York magazine. I believe it. Is You framing his presidential candidacy in terms of FDR FDR size presidency? So I think that's one of the ways previous recessions especially like even depressions is packing a just the kind of ways. The politicians themselves are thinking about political economy in what they think. It'll take to move voters also like what they think. It actually take to get us up out of this crisis. It's interesting that Biden. Says he hopes to have an FDR kind of administration. You know Roosevelt was pushed in many ways to implement much of the new deal by by working people who strock hikes throughout the country in nineteen thirty four and much of what. Roosevelt implemented had actually been test driven in the states at a local level before it was ever implemented at the federal level. And so I think that It's important to remember in the election. They that yes. Of course The power at the top makes a lot of difference. But there's also lots happening at the local level at the state level and among working people and we have to take a broad look during the election season professor lean. Wyndham is the associate director of the mandates initiative for Labor and the working poor at Georgetown University and Aaron. Ross Coleman is an IT wells fellow at the tight media institute covering race and Economics. Thank you both so much. Thank you thank you. On Saturday. Denver joined the growing number of cities across the country that have begun to reopen retail stores and personal services like hair salons and tattoo parlors can now operate at half capacity as long as they follow the city's safety guidelines and one of those new rules makes facemasks mandatory for anyone in or waiting to get into any commercial or retail business government or health facility or public transportation to continue our series of conversations with local leaders joining me. Now is the mayor of Denver Michael Hancock Mayor Hancock. Thanks for joining us to be with. You should meet a thanks for having me. What were the major factors that made you feel like it was safe to begin this phase of reopening Denver? Well we're GONNA have to really you know think foundationally one is recognizing that this fire is going to be with us For long haul and we have to learn how to navigate it really try to box it in for selves here in Denver. And with that. You know the public health administrators Really had deduct develop strategies including the stay at home orders That will help us to Begin to practice the EPI curve in which we were successfully able to do we were able to flat flat it. We saw stain plateauing. Nabet Kerr even some decreases in terms of number of Presumptive positives hospitalizations and deaths in Denver. And and that became kind of the overall you know portrait and how we made a decision that we can begin to slowly rollout operations in the city of Denver with some guardrails including the mandatory mask. And I want to ask you about that basketball in a minute but Dr Anthony. She told the Senate Health Committee. Yesterday that reopening too-soon could lead to in his words suffering and death that could be avoided. Did hearing that give you pause at all about how you'RE GOING ABOUT REOPENING DENVER? Absolutely make sure and we had it in our mind anyway but as we think about opening up the city what are going to be those guardrails. They help us to kind of make. Sure we manage the spikes. We know there's going to be more Presumptive positives we know. There's going to be more cases because we're testing more. But how do we make sure we're able to manage it as opposed virus managing us and and that's really the the mindset we went into with and that's why things like wearing masks that's why things like still no more than ten people place if you go into a beauty shop or salon It's by appointment. Only waiting cannot sit and wait in salon. Like appointment is pending Insult God rather important. I can't try to manage The transmission of the virus Going forward and then of course stepping up our game in terms of testing as well as contact tracing with that rule about face masks being mandatory in many public situations. How are you enforcing that rule? You know it really is a voluntary compliance We recognize and have tried to spread the value. That I wear my mask. I'm healthy doing when you wear your helping And so People recognize that when two people are in each other's facilities and wearing a mask dropped dramatically the possibility of transmission of the virus and so education has been really the key for us I'll tell you that You know inspectors are out and about The police are aware of best. But it's really the people and the value of saying you know what the best thing I can do for my neighbors where this mask and the best thing that neighbor can do for me to wear the mask and when you go into the stores as I I did this weekend I can tell you that. Ninety nine percent of the people were Grand Mask and people were appreciative. Folks were wearing masks. Those they really stick out like a Unicorn right now we WANNA keep it that way for a while. We want to have the value in the Coke Zero Basque wearing For a while hundreds of homeless people in Denver tested positive for the corona virus last month and at the end of April you cleared out homeless encampments despite CDC guidance saying not to do so unless individual housing was available which it was not. Can you explain the motives behind this decision Mr Mayor? Yeah Shamir let me correct the record. We did not clear out being cabinet actually since the CDC guidance came out and it's just that guidance We have allow for spawn cabbage to develop in the city of Denver against our own policies. Well we did at the end of April was to go in and clean. The encampments are public. Health Team had identified unfortunately that some of the cancer deteriorated to where there were probably health threats. And that's something. We simply cannot tolerate any more than we can tolerate the unnecessary willful You know transmission of the virus and Denver which it's a public health threat and so what we did was we to clean the encampments. People were asked to move their belongings so that we could bleach or are sanitize the and pick up the the elements that could be that could endanger people's health and safety And then they were allowed come right back if they didn't want to move we create around them But as the threats process we're going to continue to go in and we may have to move folks on one side of the street to be others so that we can create the public health threat. We simply will not tolerate for public health threats to exist In the community. Because it's not only a threat to the people who are homeless experiencing homelessness but it's a threat to the general public. We've talked about Concerns for unsheltered people in this moment on this program. Quite a bit and there have been concerns raised about these congregate shelters as being really untidily circumstances for people to be in during a pandemic. What were the options given to people who are who were saying these homeless encampments try to move them indoors including Some respite care locations. Which are some of your traditional shelters but also Some additional new ones that we've opened up that give you larger space Within the confines of dealing with Kobe Nineteen Challenge So they had over a hundred square feet or sixty to sixty square feet In which to to be cared for but we also have up. Some hotel rooms That we as much as we can gather together for. The hotels that has become vacant are shuttered As a result of colgate nineteen we have been in negotiation. Opened UP THOSE ROOMS. We have close to six hundred over six hundred rooms available so those who may be exempting exhibiting symptoms or more vulnerable because of their age for example We have moved those into hotel. Rooms are offered hotel rooms to them. I wanted to ask you Mr Mayor about that. Facemask rule have you received pushback from your constituency about that rule. We've seen protests in some other parts of the country against similar guidelines right not not widespread. We've had isolated incidents where people have refused aware. I'm going inside Facilities and basically vocal are Operation Security is pretty much handled it. But we've not had widespread you know you hear Comments here and there from people on Social Media Maybe one or two people walk into the office but nothing that would cause us great alarm and regarded the homeless encampments that we discussed earlier. So what happened to the people who were temporarily displaced by what you're describing is being cleaning happening at the homeless encampments. They were allowed to stay there. Most of them just moved to the side. Or you know maybe across the street while we clean bet side of street me were allowed to come back after the clean was completed South though the UP To twenty four seven Congregate care shelters where we're also random testing members People were experiencing homeless as well as several other respite shelters hotel rooms to take care of those who have been tested presents a positive so we have been pretty aggressive in terms of providing indoor space for our for our people experiencing homelessness in Denver But also allow again for the smaller campus to occur in the city Denver Mayor Michael Hancock. Thank you for talking with us. Absolutely every day Some scientists warned that for the first time in centuries the southwestern U. S. is in the midst of a mega drought. That's according to a new study published in the Academic Journal. Science mega droughts occur when a region has experienced severe drought conditions for a long period of time usually across multiple decades as concerns grow over the coming wildfire season on the west coast. And how the corona virus could affect their response. We talked to Park Williams. He's a climate scientist at Columbia University and one of the authors of the new study park. Thanks for joining us. Thanks very much so tell us. What exactly is a mega drought? And how does it compare to? A regular drought. Mega droughts were really I discovered in the nineteen hundreds in the early nineteen hundreds of tree-ring scientists found these phenomenal droughts evident in tree ring records and these droughts that that occurred during the medieval period. Back about one thousand years ago through about four hundred years ago happened repeatedly and what the reason we call. The mega drought says because they are bigger than and longer lasting than any drought that we have seen in modern times and that means that modern society which really developed the eighteen hundreds of nineteen. Hundreds is probably not tuned to a mega drought. A while. Mega drought may have a bit of a nebulous definition. The one thing we know. Is that a mega. Drought is unlike anything that we saw in the eighteen. Hundreds nineteen hundreds. And you're saying that this is something that shows up in tree rings like when you cut into the stump of a tree and you're able to study the rings in that Tree Trunk. How is it evident in the tree rings right as grow? They add on an annual growth ring every year and a big wide ring in the tree. Trunk means a tree grew a lot in that year. And if the ring skinny it means means grew a little bit in the West. Generally the primary limiting factor on life is water and so in years in water was not plentiful than the trainings. Hearings are skinny. And it's not just one tree that'll have a skinny ring. Essentially all the trees across the West will have a skinny ring in so we can use these these sequences of skinny rings and fat rings like Barcodes to see how drought varied in the past. So interesting so how do you define that? A mega drought is currently happening. Well we can bring these these tree-ring records to see what drought was like almost up until present but of course many train records were collecting or were they were using were collected back in the nineteen eighty s and nineteen ninety s and extend these tree-ring records a drought with actual observations of drought based on climate data. All the way up through present and what we see. Is that red around the year? Two thousand the bottom dropped back out of the bucket and the West end dry and we know it began drawings. We've Seen Lake Mead and Lake Powell in the West Declining SPO- explosive increases in wildfire activities. Seem these giant Barbie la breaks. We've seen rapid extraction of groundwater and we've known this drought is bad but it's been tough to tell exactly how bad until now and what this would our assessment shows is that the drought began in the two thousand. Even though there have been brief breaks. Just like Mega. Droughts had this drought. The began in two thousand has been on par with the worst two decade periods of the worst mega droughts that occurred about a thousand years ago. And where exactly are we seeing? These extreme drought conditions. What states or parts of states are affected? Our analysis covers what we call southwestern North America and extends across most of Western most of the Western continental us and also includes northern. Mexico goes up as far north as southern Montana and it goes down as far south as a couple hundred miles into southern Mexico Park. What is responsible for these extreme drought conditions that we're seeing today and how much of it can be attributed to climate change? We've known for decades now that Generally when droughts occur across the West or anywhere it the main thing that it takes is just bad luck. The atmosphere just teams up against a part of the world A what we call an atmospheric Ridge forms where storms are not allowed through and things. Dry Out they get really hot and you get a drought. The main purpose of this study that we did we. How much of this drought was just bad luck? And how much is due to climate change? Meaning how likely is it? The Stroud is really going to continue in the future. We imagined a hypothetical world and we recalculated what drought would have been like without the warming trends we observer last century and what we see is that yes the west still would have been been in a drought over the last twenty years but without the extra three degrees Fahrenheit of warming but the drought wouldn't have been nearly a severe in fact the drought that would have occurred due to just bad luck and not climate change would have been about half as severe as the drought that was actually observed. It wouldn't be going toe to toe with the mega droughts that we see in the tree ring record from last millennium and that is really important. It's GonNa take less and less bad luck to fall back into severe drought in the future. And it's GonNa take more and more good luck to our selves back out of Drought Future. What about the implications for the people and the wildlife who live in that region? What what is this drought meant for them? We have seen a wildfires increase especially in forests since the early nineteen eighties or so. We've seen the annual area of forest fire increase by a factor of more than ten meaning. There's more forest burned in an average you today than there was about forty years ago. You've seen massive bark beetle outbreaks which have been promoted by a severe drought and and temperatures. And we've seen major limitations on. How much is available? California for example had in state really aggressive restrictions We've seen big shifts in agriculture. What we've seen is agriculture using more water out of the ground groundwater as a backstop to buffer against the consequences of and because groundwater takes a long time to replenish in many places is an unsustainable activity meaning that in order to have a more comfortable drought right. Now we've been borrowing from our resilience to drought in the future. D- You have any concerns about what the emergency response to. Wildfires will look like during this pandemic once again across the majority of the West including a lot of our forested areas. The Sierra Nevada's the central northern rockies the cascade range in the Pacific northwest these areas are normally dry right now and that generally promotes a fire so unless these areas are bailed out by wet summer fire activity is going to be Or Say Fire. Potential liabilities really high the same time. A lot of fires are set by people on accident. Will they be more or people in Nature During this pandemic or less I don't think we we quite what we do know is what you were just suggesting that the Ability to respond to fires may not be as As strong as it is in normal years for example training camps for firefighters have already had to be altered or canceled because of the pandemic and so we'll firefighters be able to have the same response this year. I really don't know but but what I'm reading is Probably the same as many that. Is that the response is probably going to be weaker this year. And so We may see some some bigger fires but that's yet to be seen park. Williams is a climate scientist at Columbia University Park. Thank you very much for joining us. Thanks for having me Kobe nineteen has forced performing arts theaters across the country to halt productions and closed their doors. Broadway has announced it will remain dark until at least the fall but for smaller arts organizations. The picture is much more dire. Most theaters don't know when they'll be able to reopen to audiences. Many aren't sure they'll be able to stay afloat until then and the communities that depend on these theaters have at least temporarily lost essential spaces for art education and simply coming together but even if theaters are able to reopen within say a year it's far from guaranteed that members will be quick to return a recent poll by the market research companies. Shula research found that only about thirty six percent of theatergoers in the United States. Think they would go back to their old theater going routines once performances resume. Which means it'll be a long time before. Many theaters can bring in the level of revenue. They were making before the pandemic and that reality comes on top of cancellations already experienced the spring. The day we shutdown was the day our gala was meant to happen and then the Monday following. We were to begin rehearsals on the wolves so we lost a production and a gala. That's page price producing artistic director for the Philadelphia Theatre Company in Los Angeles. The country's oldest Asian American theater company East West players was at a similar point in its season. Here's they're producing. Artistic Director Snap Hall Deci. The evening we closed. We were about to start previews for the musical assassins by Sondheim as part of a citywide celebration for as ninetieth birthday and it was also a biggest musical of the year and then we also were about to launch our theatre for youth tour which hits a tens of thousands of kids in southern California and like page. We were weeks way from Arkansas. As well which had to be cancelled as an in person event I spoke with Schnee Hall. Npr's about what cove nineteen has meant for their arts communities as well as how their own employees have been affected financially. By these cancellations. I think the financial impact was a what to do with the folks that were on payroll for the show so we had folks who once you go to performance mode who worked front of House who were crew and those folks are paid in a different way than say Actors who have different contracts and stuff and so was a decision of how long to pay those folks out you know. We couldn't unfortunately pay them out for the full run but we were able to pay them out a little bit and in terms of our fulltime employees. We were actually okay because that was our last show of the season and then we were in our galaxies and we had a lot of our gal in CA- in the the trouble we're running into now is our community has been very patient. Ten very gracious about giving us time to see when things will be able to operate again but as the time line looks further and further out. Now we're getting more calls for refunds and so it just a concern of how much we're going to have to kind of return page. What about for you yeah? We're in a similar position where we waited a little bit because so much was happening so quickly that this week's worst case scenario was next week's best case scenario so We put everyone on hold to once. It came apparent that the unemployment was going to be generous. We followed almost the entire staff and we helped the NFL. The part time workers around the front of House. We help them get some emergency grants that were happening. And then with the actors we found out when they were available in the fall which of course now is the best case scenario and And so now. We're looking at a way that we could possibly do something with the actors online so that we can pay them an equity salary and showcase the play in some way in fact we thought we'd even go to the writer and see if there's any kind of work she'd like to do to imagine it presume and that way we can pay her something to so Just trying to find ways of closing that loop and and giving our ticket holders something to look at and many of them have donated back. I was pleasantly surprised by the amount about fifty eight percent. Donate the money back to their theater. But also mentioned you know as the timeline goes further and further away for when we'll gather again we're just trying to figure out how to stay attached to our community and it's now. I know that East West players has also been thinking about online content. Like page mentioned. Have you been able to produce plan anything like that we have? We took our time a little bit hip belt overwhelming surge of things that went online immediately and we wanted to see what we could translate. We have this series called presents. We have the series called crazy talented Asians and another one called Asia. And so we've been able to take some of those programs virtual and it's great you know. A lot of them have a variety show aspect multiple singers and COMEDIANS. And stuff like that. We will take that online once a month and then we just launched East Wednesdays kind of like a weekly different conversations with artists in our community. We just had one on Asian American comedians with Margaret. Show and Randall. Park and Suzy Nakimora. But we also interviewed doctors who are Asian American. Who are on the front lines to talk about their experiences that you've been having conversations with different artistic directors and other places in Philadelphia. What kinds of conversations are you having an? Is everyone sort of dealing with the same issues? Here it's really interesting. Philadelphia is like I was only there for three years. Now this is my third year and there's such an enormous community there and it ranges from individual producing artists. To almost I think we have seven Lord institutions in the area which is which is a lot and so he gathered started with a couple of people in their list has grown so more than seventy leaders are on this call now so you can imagine the scope of issues and they're similar to how do we take care of our artistic community how we take care of our staff. What do we do with programming? And I have to sit as a lot of forward motion with since the the group so big. Now we've broken up into five subsets of issues like reentry and sharing resources and one group is called dreaming forward. What are the innovations? That might come from this moment. I'm having another conversation with other peers across the country that might involve producing something and who knows what that looks like. That is very amorphous. The moment making something in Philly that maybe people in Seattle could look at giving people access to other artistic communities by sharing a platform. And so I'm talking with at least four other theaters all over the country about something like that snail. Hallamshire that you've been having similar conversations you're in La. I wonder if you're talking to artistic directors at other local theaters in L. A. Or or beyond what you've found helpful. We also have had great leadership from the city and the county so they have convened of working groups to have conversations and particularly across the performing arts spectrum so with dance with music organizations and things like that since we're all dealing with the same concerns about how to safely bring artists and audiences into the building and the real question that that's been kind of ruminating is what will our audiences also need. After all of this. You Know How do we honor the you know at this point? It's almost seventy five thousand. Americans have lost their lives in a very short span of time. And and what will that look like for most theaters? You know your base audience is actually in the high risk. Category of individuals above sixty and our traditional income streams of ticket sales subscriptions holiday shows and in-person fundraising events is not going to be reliable for a long time so as page said it is going to have to be really hard look at the model but the business model on the artistic model to see what is going to serve our community's and the best way possible so for us we also are looking to move outside the building. We're looking to take our work more in to say the senior homes and things like that so that we can bring something communities that have been most the hardest hit and we may not be able to see for awhile page. I wonder what kinds of specific conversations you're starting to have about reopening and what that would look like. Yes it's is really big again telling Si- well I think that you know th the whole started down. The road of what kind of emotional state are are artists? Going to be in our audience is going to be in. You know I worry about the sector. Fifty five thousand fulltime equivalent jobs in Philadelphia and I think of them as the motherboard. That's underneath the city. The cultural motherboard. And if if that's shorts out or we lose a big big chunks of it I fear for the vitality of the city because we we are going to be one of the last businesses to open. We're going to be the last areas of Pennsylvania to open and so we're just looking at what? What could we do to the building itself and we're we're budgeting structural changes? We know that actors equity is going to give us some guidelines for the artists backstage that will be global which is great but there have them somebody on that case but really what is it like to walk into a theater and expect to be taken away and have a whole front house staff in a mass you know but is that comfort. Inducing is that Yeah there's so much unknown that that we're just sort of making a different plan every week but it's starting to become a little bit more clear. How many pillars that we're going to have to put up underneath our productions to make people feel safe Sneha. I'm I'm sure you have lots of thoughts on what reopening might look like but I'm also wondering given the level of xenophobic and racist language. That's been used against. Asian Americans during this pandemic has entered into your thought at all in terms of the mission of your theater going forward. Yes I would say every day you know. I think the hardest thing right now with what we're dealing with is that we understand that humans are social creature and we were just not able to have that interaction with each other and it's going to be a very long time. I think that's a vital part of the services we provide. We are community centers and the further. Partly our it's there's an increasing lack of empathy and there's an increasing rise in the rhetoric so for us it's been about making sure community states visible that we speak out against kind of the hateful rhetoric and that we also educate our community on how to protect itself but you cannot deny the significant rise in hate crimes throughout the country and even in southern. California in La. We've seen an increase in incidents on a daily basis. And so for us. It's it's those things and then for me down the line. How will I keep my community safe my patrons and artists as they come back door space? Some theaters have already announced that they've had to make the difficult decision to close their doors permanently due to financial pressures from Cova nineteen. I'm wondering to both of you. What what the loss of live theatre million in your respective communities maybe page. Can you start you know? I don't believe that live theatre will go away. I can't I'm not there yet. I mean I certainly think that There's an expectation that theater will thrive in some form. It's been around somebody I hear on your on your zoom call to the communities. Now somebody made it was Michael. Ritchie mentioned that it was the second oldest profession in the world. So I I think it's GonNa stick around for awhile just look differently and you know. If I'm really honest I think there was a subscription model in many parts of our institutional theater models that needed a good look and you know if we need to take this time to to correct and to Rethink A. I'm trying to look at what that might bring to us to keep our art form vital but I can't imagine not having live theater. I just can't yeah I just want to Concur with page. I think we will survive. And I think you know we're in a period as I say a forced innovation And many of the things that are sector has put off in terms of bringing things online virtual experiences and stuff we're doing we're doing an a much faster way and we're becoming much more nimble organizations for East West. We are the largest and oldest Asian American theatre. But we're also the longest running theater of color in this country. So I feel like we have a significant role to play in the system of theater but also the locally nationally and so like many things we have persevered and we'll find a way and it may not look like what we were we imagined. But you know I think it's important to have a stage from which to tell our stories snailed the size. The producing artistic director of East West players in Los Angeles and page price is the producing artistic director for the Philadelphia Theatre Company. Thank you both so much for being here. Thank you thank you. We've also been hearing from you about how arts institutions in your communities are being affected by the pandemic and why that matters. I'm worried about the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. They will have no twenty twenty seasons on top of that wildfires in southern Oregon last year deeply impacted their bottom line. I worry about whether the theater will survive. And I worry about the livelihood of the Artists Hotel and restaurant workers who rely on success. This is Patty Farrell from Portland Oregon Chunk of her. I'm calling from Longmont Colorado. Just north of Denver. Losing our arts and culture would be awful. Hundreds of thousands of people over decades have worked and struggled and volunteer and donate it to build these places and they contribute so much more aren't society than many people think they do. I think it would be a tragedy list on. This is Hannah. I live in New York City. I work on Broadway. Local Arts and culture institutions are my community if we lose them even just for a long enough is a large portion of my family will leave my community forever. Either get jobs in other fields. That are able to reopen or else physically relocate. Who's in my arts and culture institutions means losing my community. Full Stop Erica Pock Peoria Illinois. And we're doing virtual tours of galleries and we're doing massive amounts of fundraising for to community theaters. This would be a horrible loss for our community. Considering one of our community theaters is the fourth longest running in the nation. This is bill from Long Beach Washington. The music venue. My wife and I have is closed right now as are all the theaters and art galleries in town. We've been doing open. Mics and local artists concerts on zoom. The sound quality is great for most people. But it's beats no music at all. The Arts are real important part of a community here on the Long Beach Peninsula and so everybody is more than determined to get it going again. Many Masindi Henry. I'm from Portsmouth New Hampshire Unfortunately they cancel the Prescott Park Music Festival which happens all summer and brings amazing artists to the community and really great theater for kids. It's definitely going to take a toll on the local economy and basically morale the community because we love summer in New England. We hope that they bounce back and we're going to figure out ways to support them on throughout the summer. That's all for us today. Remember you can weigh in about local arts or anything else you heard on. Today's show by calling us at eight. Seven seven eight mile. Take I'M SHUMITA BASU? And this is the takeaway. I'll talk to you tomorrow.

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