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April 25, 2022

Carrying New York City Through COVID-19: Undocumented Deliverance

A Presentation by Martha Daniela Guerrero

Event Series: Crossing Borders: Leaving Home, Making New Lives, Sustaining Communities

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As New York City became the country’s COVID-19 pandemic epicenter in 2020, app-based couriers for companies like UberEats and DoorDash emerged as essential workers, bringing food to many during lockdown. During the pandemic, up to 65,000 migrant workers from Mexico, Central America, South Asia, China, and West Africa braved substandard working conditions, including wage theft, no access to restaurant restrooms, longer riding distances, and rising violent bike thefts. For over a year, Deliveristas Unidos, a grassroots collective founded by indigenous Guatemalan and Mexican workers, fought to improve labor standards. In fall 2021, migrant-led organizing secured local legislation guaranteeing wage disclosures, minimum payments per delivery, and the right to use restaurant restrooms and set distance limits. The story of Deliveristas Unidos is one about the technology industry, migrant labor, and human rights.

This event was hosted by the Georgetown College Americas Forum and co-sponsored by the Georgetown Americas Institute.

Featuring

Martha Daniela Guerrero is a Mexican journalist and historian studying the intersections of Latinx migration, labor, and social movements. She earned a B.S. at Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service and an M.S. at Columbia University’s School of Journalism. As a John Carroll Fellow, Guerrero was awarded Georgetown’s Rowe Award in Latin American History for her honors thesis on twentieth century Mexico, and she was shortlisted for Columbia’s Louis Winnick Prize for her reporting on New York’s Mexican and Central American delivery workers. Working as a bilingual columnist/journalist, she writes about immigration, labor, and gender violence.

John Tutino (introductions) is professor of history and international affairs and director of the Georgetown College Americas Forum at Georgetown University. He studies the long-term history of Mexican communities in the context of global capitalism. His work includes The Mexican Heartland: How Communities Made Capitalism, a Nation, and World History, 1500-2000 (2018) and two edited volumes on Mexico and Mexicans in the Making of the United States (2012) and New World Cities: Challenges of Urbanization and Globalization in the Americas (2019).

Marcella Hardin (moderator) is a Ph.D. student in the Department of History at Georgetown University and the program coordinator for the Georgetown College Americas Forum.