July 21 | National Day of Action
DC | Capitol Hill
"Good morning! We're Stephanie Freed and Grant McDonald and we're the Co-Founders of ExtendPUA.org. ExtendPUA.org is a resource that offers people easy actions they can take to get the Senate to extend FPUC and expand PUA. It also offers comprehensive information and talking points.
We're two unemployed people, joined by an incredible group of unemployed volunteers. Like most of them, we are both freelancers behind the scenes in arts, entertainment, and live events. We love our jobs. We want to go back to work, but it's not safe for the 11 million specialized professionals in our face to face industry. The ripple effect is massive if the entertainment industry collapses, which it will without assistance.
There are no jobs to go back to. Live entertainment is slated to remain closed until at least 2021 and touring may not come back until 2022. Unemployment insurance does not match our usual income, and more importantly isn't a living wage for many. Our bills including rent and self-paid healthcare are still due in full. Cutting any part of the $600 would mean we both, like many, will be forced out of my apartment and the cities we love.
And still, we acknowledge the incredible privilege we inherently have, daily and in this issue. We created ExtendPUA.org to fight for our industry, but also to fight for all of the more than 30 million people with hands on the panic button. We by no means think we can speak for everyone, but we are fighting for everyone, especially those with bigger fights than this one.
We're at war with an idea. That government should have compassion. That it should value people over massive corporate bailouts.
What's absurd is that we're here at all. The $600 supplement is stimulating the economy and helping people survive. The pandemic is not over, we are not in recovery mode. Cases are actively rising. People, our friends and our family are dying. And we know how to stop this thing. Wear a mask, social distance, stay home. But instead we have to come here to convince our govt to help us.
It's 2 DAYS until the $600 that is keeping 26 million of us afloat expires. People are frozen, unable to plan beyond the end of the week. Millions more haven't seen any help at all. History is watching us right now. America is looking an awful lot like a country whose 'for the people' government doesn't care much about it's people. Injustice is so rife here that people are in the streets every day demanding to be seen, risking their lives. We need someone to go in that building right now, bring all of your colleagues together, and save the people.
There is no room for compromise in a global pandemic. This is not politics. This is our lives. We are your constituents. And we need help.
Extend FPUC in full. Expand eligibility for PUA to excluded workers, and pass arts relief. Pandemic assistance should continue until the pandemic is over."
WHO WE ARE
Our 100% Volunteer Based effort
ExtendPUA.org was created by two members of the entertainment industry who are currently unemployed due to COVID-19 and are relying on the FPUC $600 to pay their bills. We noticed despair, but little individual momentum, around the FPUC expiration and wanted to offer a resource for people to easily take clear and informed actions. In our research around the $600, we learned more about the overwhelming inequity of the system and we aim to change that too.
We are joined by a team of incredible collaborators, most of whom are also members of the entertainment industry.
This doesn’t happen without them.
We stand in solidarity with the over 30 million people who are unemployed.
Oh. And we want everyone to wear a mask.
Thank you for being a part of the movement.