Car Caravan Draws Attention To Increasing Inequality During Coronavirus Pandemic
Wednesday, July 1, 2020
Photo by Andi Dukleth
Union members and tenants staged a car protest this morning, visiting the homes of several wealthy residents of San Diego.
The car caravan was part of a statewide protest, meant to draw attention to the disparate impacts that the coronavirus pandemic has had on low-income people and their wealthy counterparts.
Union members representing AFSCME and the UAW specifically called out UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep Khosla for laying off unionized staff members at a time when the coronavirus pandemic has stretched wallets thin.
“We’re seeing this all across the country, people are realizing that the rich keep getting richer and the poor keep getting poorer,” said Shaun McCollum, an organizer with AFSCME. “During this pandemic, people are losing their jobs, their livelihoods, their incomes, yet we're seeing the billionaires in this country raking in tens of billions of dollars in profit while everyone else is suffering.”
According to the groups, California’s 161 billionaires have increased their wealth by more than $180 billion more since the start of the pandemic in mid-March.
The protest was planned for July 1st because that’s when the rent is due for thousands of unemployed San Diegans like Patricia Mendoza.
“Right now, one-in-four people in San Diego are unemployed. Right now, thousands of renters cannot pay the rent and are at risk of eviction,” Mendoza said at a press conference before the caravan. “Today we are visiting neighborhoods that these billionaires live in throughout the state, to say you need to pay, so we can breathe.”
The groups say California’s wealthiest can afford to have their own tax burdens increased, to help out those most impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. The state government has had to cut back on social services and education funding to make up for the revenue deficit created by the economic downturn.
According to CalMatters, almost 40% of California’s income taxes currently come from people making over $1 million dollars.
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