Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

A progressive advocacy group projected photos and stories of unemployed Americans onto a hotel building in Charlotte, North Carolina on Sunday, August 24, 2020. (Photo: Unemployed Action/Twitter)

A progressive advocacy group projected photos and stories of unemployed Americans onto a hotel building in Charlotte, North Carolina on Sunday, August 24, 2020. (Photo: Unemployed Action/Twitter)

'Responsible for National Collapse': RNC Greeted With Projections Condemning Republicans for Abandoning Jobless Workers

"It's unbearable that the Republican Party and the Trump administration are celebrating and campaigning while millions of families are suffering because they refuse to extend the $600 benefit that was keeping us afloat."

Jake Johnson

On the eve of the 2020 Republican National Convention, a progressive advocacy group representing 15,000 unemployed workers on Sunday projected onto a Charlotte, North Carolina hotel the photos and stories of jobless workers struggling to meet basic needs after the GOP allowed the $600-per-week unemployment benefit boost to expire last month, slashing the incomes of some 30 million Americans.

"It's unbearable that the Republican Party and the Trump administration are celebrating and campaigning while millions of families are suffering because they refuse to extend the $600 benefit that was keeping us afloat," Cynthia Rizzo of Unemployed Action said in a statement. "I want them to see the faces of people who are struggling because of their inaction."

"Republicans caused this unemployment crisis by botching the response to Covid, and then abandoned us to face eviction, hunger, and debt on our own."
—Cynthia Rizzo, Unemployed Action

"I can't support myself and my granddaughter on $225 a week," said Rizzo, who lives in Roxboro, North Carolina. "Republicans caused this unemployment crisis by botching the response to Covid, and then abandoned us to face eviction, hunger, and debt on our own."

While the Republican convention will largely take place virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic, some Republican leaders are expected to appear physically in Charlotte, the originally planned site of the event.

Republican officials who arrived in Charlotte Sunday evening may have spotted the massive projections on building of the Hilton Garden Inn, a hotel located just blocks away from the convention site.

"I don't have any family, and few friends. Losing my job was terrifying. I don't have anyone to turn to," read one of the projections. "The only way I was able to survive was because of the extra $600."

"I worked as a server. My rent alone is more than unemployment, and my landlord isn't being understanding," read another. "I don't have money left for food, my car, my bills."

The projections come just days after the U.S. Department of Labor announced that more than a million Americans filed for unemployment benefits during the week ending August 8—just one of many signs that the economic recovery sputtering as the coronavirus continues to spread across the nation.

Earlier this month, Democratic congressional leaders and the Trump White House failed to reach an agreement to extend the enhanced unemployment benefits, allowing a key lifeline to lapse as hunger surged and tens of millions faced possible eviction. Democrats—along with economists, workers, and advocacy groups—demanded that the $600-per-week additional payments be extended while the White House and congressional Republicans pushed for a lower figure, with some saying publicly that they wouldn't mind letting the benefits expire completely.

After Congress and White House negotiators failed to strike a deal, President Donald Trump took executive action to extend the federal unemployment boost at $300 per week while requesting that cash-strapped states kick in an extra $100 per week. Experts decried the directive—which leaves out the poorest by design—as unworkable and a false promise to the millions of Americans who relied on the enhanced benefits to afford food, housing, and other necessities.

"As more details of the plan—known as Lost Wages Assistance—have emerged, so have problems with finding the funding and getting it to the hands of those who need it," the New York Times reported Sunday. "By Thursday, only one state, Arizona, had started paying out."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

... We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

'Reckless Misuse of Resources': House Approves $778 Billion Military Budget

"There was no CBO score needed. No concern about the deficit. No mention of inflation," said Rep. Jamaal Bowman.

Jake Johnson ·


Senate Dems Help Torpedo Resolution That Would Have Blocked $650 Million Arms Sale to Saudi Arabia

"My simple question is, why in the world would the United States reward a regime that has caused such pain in Yemen with more weapons," Sanders asked after the vote. "The answer is we should not."

Brett Wilkins ·


Amnesty Scorecard Finds Twitter Failing to Protect Women From Online Abuse

"As our world has become increasingly dependent on digital spaces during the Covid-19 pandemic, it's critical that Twitter meet this moment with demonstrated commitment to improving the online experiences of all users, regardless of their identity."

Jessica Corbett ·


Filibuster Reform for Debt Ceiling Fight But Not Voting Rights or Reproductive Freedom?

"If our senators are willing to suspend the filibuster to protect our economy, they should be willing to suspend it to protect our democracy and our freedom to vote."

Jessica Corbett ·


As Senate Holds Guantánamo Hearing, Biden Urged to 'Finally End This Chapter of Injustice'

"Guantánamo is a centerpiece of the forever wars. It is a shameful symbol of racial injustice, torture, and violations of the Constitution and international law."

Brett Wilkins ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo