What political and technological strategies do Asian and Asian American workers and organizers use to respond to differential exposures to risk, such as economic uncertainty, physical safety, and heightened policing and surveillance, during the Covid-19 pandemic? The ongoing and unknown duration of the pandemic requires further investigation to understand how long-lasting disasters shape processes of community organizing, advocacy, and recovery, particularly for racially marginalized populations. In this current moment, remote digital tools are used for both organizing and work, functioning as a terrain where community organizing interfaces with the policy arenas of labor, technology, and policing given issues of risk, privacy, and safety. This project works closely with New York City–based grassroots collectives organizing Asian migrant workers in informal economies and adapts qualitative research processes to base-building needs of community partners. In addition to in-depth qualitative interviews with workers, this study conducts a series of focus group interviews with organizers in worker-led movements that function as peer skill-sharing sessions with the goal of learning more about how community organizers leverage technologies in organizing practices during the pandemic. This research enhances understandings of Asian migrant workers’ technology and political practices and enables shared learning and collaborative knowledge production.
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill