EDITOR’S NOTE: This story of #CreativityInCaptivity was originally shared by Charlottean Jen Withrow. We are sharing it here with her permission. How are you staying creative at home? How are you interacting with the world? Tell us here.
I lost my job on March 20th due to the coronavirus. I was one of the thousands of persons affected by this pandemic. Just to pass the time, I had been sitting in the same spot for about 4 hours scrolling through Instagram when I found a site called @fired.baristas.durham.
The site was featuring people who had recently been laid off in the RDU area. I figured we could use a similar page for those of us here in Charlotte who were struggling with our new reality. I contacted my friend Courtney Lowe and we created an Instagram page that we called @CLT_Laid_Off_Locals.
Within just a couple of days …
… we had hundreds of followers and three or four news stations approaching us for stories. Our page had so much traffic that the Instagram Algorithm was flagged and we were restricted from activity. So, we decided to create a Twitter to bypass that problem.
We knew that this pandemic-imposed quarantine would cause a lot of people to be out of work, but we could not anticipate how quickly this page would take off. Now, running the Instagram and Twitter has become a full-time job for both of us.
“There is solidarity in this experience.”
Our main goal for this project is to remind people that, even though we’re all isolated in our own separated homes, the Charlotte community is extremely strong and it will live on throughout this pandemic. There is solidarity in this experience. We are working on a few live-streamed events that will happen in the near future. This may include live concerts, a cocktail workshop, and some cooking advice for those of us who have never needed to figure out a recipe for the dried and canned goods we have stashed away over the years.
We also understand the severity of the financial burden that a huge portion of Charlotteans are facing. Now, more than ever, we can fully appreciate how much of this community relies on and thrives off of the service industry. Our Instagram and Twitter pages are platforms where servers, artists, musicians, etc. are encouraged to share their stories, and hopefully make a few bucks from gracious donors.
We’re asking for a little compassion …
Many of our neighbors are ineligible for unemployment benefits and many more are still waiting to hear back about their pending applications with DES. It’s the beginning of the month and people are unsure about how they will pay their bills. We’re asking for a little compassion from those who may be able to help.
For the time being, we’re reaching out to ask for volunteers to share their crafts and skills for live-streaming. We’re asking for people who can share a little bit of their paychecks with those who are economically in the red during these difficult days.
Most of all, we are asking you to share our information with anyone we can help, and with anyone who can help us. Please join in and help us keep this community alive!
The first post from @clt_laid_off_locals …
View this post on Instagram
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