Supporters of delivery and cab drivers held a memorial Tuesday afternoon for workers who have lost their lives.
The murder of Queens delivery worker Zhiwen Yan left the city in shock and highlighted just how dangerous the industry can be for its primarily immigrant worker base. In an effort to both remember workers like Yan while also calling for further safety protocols to be implemented by employers, a memorial was held to honor their memories.
Organized by Justice for App Workers–a coalition representing 100,000 rideshare drivers and delivery workers–organizers were joined in Inwood Hill Park by family members of those who have perished.
“We have lost drivers to violence, to COVID, accidents, and suicide,” Adalgisa Payero, leader of Utany and member of JFAW said. “We know that more needs to be done by company apps in our government to keep us safe. We all deserve to come home to our family. So, we are here to remember those that we lost and to let them know that they are not forgotten.”
Justice for App Workers created a memorial site in which sketches of the deceased drivers were displayed. Family and supporters honored the lost by placing flowers beside the portraits. Others stood beside a bicycle with flowers threaded through it while the names of the deceased were read aloud. The solemn occasion was also used to point out the changes workers would like to be made in hopes of addressing safety concerns.
“We put our lives at risk for their profits and when you need them, these companies like Uber, Lyft and DoorDash are nowhere to be found,” Muneeb Rehman said, a member of Black Car Mafia. “We know that there have been suicides in this industry recently as well. But these companies need to know that there’s a human life behind the wheel. For our safety and survival, we need dash cameras paid for by the companies. We need dash cameras paid for by the companies, the photos and the real name of the customers should be recorded. We need a greater security mechanism and support for our female drivers who also need the support. We also need the support as well. We also need health care and mental health care benefits. We need to make enough money to live off of and provide for our families.”
With added measures like these, it is hoped that attacks and even deadly violence can be avoided.
Ex-Brit turned Manhattan resident since 2008.