This May Day we’re releasing Rona Report 2.0, a comparative narrative analysis of the inaugural Rona Report we released a year ago where we explored narrative trends, content, messages and stories around the economy, jobs and workers under COVID-19.
In an era of pandemic exacerbated by climate chaos and state violence, the ongoing and often unseen collective trauma is still palpable one year since the latest coronavirus made itself known. COVID-19 has uprooted our reality, and at the same time, offers us a chance to reimagine what our world can look like if we adopt values of care, interdependence, and social solidarity.
We believe the moment is ripe to continue reshaping narratives to imbue new meaning that projects and creates the world we want for the next seven generations.
We are all witnessing firsthand how the pandemic is cracking open narratives about the economy and workers in new ways. Over the last year, we developed and iterated upon our analysis from the first report revisiting the narrative landscape at the intersection of the pandemic, the economy and workers.
During that time we saw an enormous response of the collective care we so desperately needed all across the country — mutual aid and grassroots mobilizations to get friends, family and neighbors the help they needed, a summer of uprisings where millions of people demanded the end to hyper militarized racist policing, and an election that was won by the sweat equity of Black, Latinx, and Indigenous organizers in battleground states.
At the same time, we saw the opposition respond in earnest through widespread voter suppression and intimidation tactics and a riot at the Capitol, which was born out of authoritarian policies and inhumane actions propagated by the right wing over the last four years. Within this context, chaos agents and unwitting participants have pumped an exorbitant amount of racialized and gendered misinformation and disinformation into the media ecosystem, further destabilizing public discourse. Indeed, we are living in difficult yet transformative times.
The Rona Report: One Year On identifies dominant, emerging and enduring narratives that have shaped the landscape between May 2020 and April 2021. Within this iteration of the Rona Report, you will find in-depth narrative insights and trends as they relate to the economy and workers. You’ll also find key narrative networks and influencers, narrative threats (including the ever present strains of disinformation and misinformation), narrative openings and concrete action steps to mitigate the risks we are to face.
For many of us, the pre-pandemic ‘normal’ was a crisis in and of itself.
The Trump administration’s inaction had a devastating effect on all of us, especially those of us who live at the intersections of being poor and working class, trans and queer, incarcerated and undocumented, disabled and at the throws of white supremacy and nationalism. This state sanctioned, criminal negligence resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of our friends, family, neighbors, and members of our global community.
As we move from red bar graphs highlighting the waves of sickness and death across the United States to the race for herd immunity under a new administration, many of us hold the deep desire to be free of the pandemic and restabilize our lives, and the narrative landscape reflects this desire and the shift in our attitudes about the economy, jobs, and workers over the last year.
COVID-19 has created a dynamic narrative space.
There is a robust set of narrative openings to leverage the current moment and shift narratives around COVID-19 and beyond.
- We have an opportunity right now to redefine the role of government and build governance that prioritizes people, not profits. Conversations around Big Tech and big business also suggest a narrative opening to move the needle on the role the government plays in meeting peoples’ basic needs. The lack of public internet infrastructure and the digital divide, #FreeTheVaccine conversations, democracy and voting, and the forthcoming national infrastructure bill provide opportunities to expand the notion of what is priceless and what resources should be held by the public.
- Amplify and drive conversations that center workers. Make connections across industries. COVID-19 has left a big crack in the conversation about the economy. While productivity and growth are still primary drivers, we have seen the reemergence of #RaisetheWage, and support of unions and an expansion of the social safety net in 2021.
- While we need to tell a clear story about where we’ve been, the crisis moment we’ve arrived at, and where we’re headed, a focus on criticism can often depress action. The harms caused by capitalism, racism, and patriarchy need to be balanced with a clear vision. Project an aspirational vision of the future that speaks to peoples’ material conditions — weariness, exhaustion, and hanging on — and underscores that change is possible. Stitch stories together about mutual aid, creative governance, and people-centered economies that have come out of the pandemic and draw on rich histories. Regularly connect the dots between these disparate stories to weave a bigger narrative on transformative and just governance.
In the coming weeks, we’ll bring you opportunities to connect with us on the narrative research and action steps from Rona Report 2.0 and share more about how to get connected to our exciting project, Signals In The Noise!