Local organizing key to rent strikes across country

By Samone Blair
Medill Reports

Rent strike protests were among various demonstrations that took place across the country on May 1. Employees at companies like Amazon, Instacart, Target and Whole Foods also took to the streets while still practicing social distancing in honor of International Workers’ Day.

Organizers who align with Rent Strike 2020 are calling for the cancellation of rent, mortgage and utility bills for two months due to the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. A bill introduced by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) in April lays out legislation for similar payment cancellation.

Peter Meyer Reimer, a Rent Strike 2020 Organizing Lead, says it’s important to differentiate a rent cancellation from a rent freeze and eviction moratorium.

“I’m answering 50 to 100 emails a day from people saying, ‘Look, I know my landlord can’t kick me out right now but they’re going to evict me the second they can. They’re saying they’ll ruin my credit rating,'” said Meyer Reimer. “And so these people are living in fear.”

In order to be connected with a mutual aid organization in your local area to help out or for support, you can call 312-883-4677 or visit rentstrike2020.org.

Photo at top: A bike pulls a Rent Strike banner down a street. (@fivedemandsglobal/Twitter)