We are all connected: our response to the Coronavirus crisis

As we practice social distancing to limit the spread of the coronavirus, I believe it’s more important than ever to reach out, affirm, and deepen the social bonds we have.

So I want you to know this: You are a valued part of our Corporate Accountability community. Whether you are a member, activist, supporter, donor, or philanthropic partner — you make up this organization. I am honored and humbled in this moment to be in community with people like you who are committed to transforming systems that are so clearly not working for most people.

I hope that, as best as you are able, you are taking good care of yourself and your loved ones, finding the support you need in this moment, and helping to limit the spread of the disease. I also acknowledge that not everyone has the privilege to stay at home, and that this crisis is endangering those in our society with the fewest resources and safety nets.

I am deeply grateful for those who are leading the way in teaching us about how to care for each other and ourselves in these times. These communities have been engaging in mutual aid and political struggle for a long time and are currently at greatest risk: people with chronic illnesses and disabilities, communities of color, those on the frontlines of poverty, pollution, and the climate crisis, and many of our elders — especially our LGBTQ elders who were at the forefront of AIDS activism.

Here’s some of how we at Corporate Accountability are caring for ourselves, each other, and the global community: We are working from home and we are not traveling. We are showing up as we are; we are supporting each other across distance, leaning into love rather than fear. We are connecting with each other, our allies, and our board digitally, exploring new ways to meet and organize so that we can contribute to the transformational change our world greatly needs, in solidarity with a broader movement for justice and liberation. We are staying grounded in our vision of a beautiful world where all people and living creatures can thrive.

We are doing all of this because we know we have an important role to play in this moment. People are feeling and experiencing viscerally how broken our systems are. We are witnessing the many ways our economic, political, and social systems are not designed to care for the greater good, and in fact have created vast and immoral economic inequality that are putting billions of people at even greater risk.

For more than 40 years, Corporate Accountability has been working to transform these systems — and we’re committed to continue through this crisis.

In fact, I believe our work to contest power has never been more critical. We know that it is in these moments of crisis that corporations — and the mostly wealthy white men behind them — attempt to consolidate their power and force political and economic changes for their own benefit. Sometimes, this results in a curtailing of civil rights and trampling on human rights.

We cannot allow this to happen. But we see, already, that the Trump administration has been entirely too swift to put corporations before people, whether by dumping $1.5 trillion to shore up banks and investment houses, or floating the idea of providing federal aid to the fracking industry. At the same time, the insurance industry and the pharmaceutical industry are trying to put their profits ahead of the health of hundreds of millions of people.

In the coming weeks, we will expose and challenge disaster capitalism as it rears its ugly head. And, we will continue to challenge some of the most powerful entities on this planet — entities that are even now scheming ways to profit from this crisis: Big Polluters, corporations that privatize and commodify water, and corporations that threaten public health.

At the same time, we are witnessing the speed in which many countries and communities are responding to this pandemic. We see some leaders taking action that, when supported or pressured by grassroots organizing, are designed to meet the needs of those who are at greatest risk. This kind of response proves that our societies are capable of drastic and quick changes — exactly what we need to address the climate crisis and other pressing issues. It also demonstrates the need for organizing led by those most affected to hold decision-makers accountable and ensure just solutions.

So we are staying vigilant, innovating as we go, and staying committed to our mission to create a world where corporations answer to people — not the other way around.

I am encouraging all our staff and board to think creatively and generously about how we approach these next few weeks and months in a way that strengthens us all — and I hope that you will engage us in that conversation as well. Your presence and support is what enables us to stay committed to challenging power in the most dire of times like this. And for that I am deeply grateful. Stay well and stay connected.

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