Charlottesville's Frontline Workers

Overview: In May 2020, our local advisory committee requested support on behalf of essential workers. The Equity Center team began work on an action-oriented memo, in collaboration with Ridge Schuyler and PVCC’s Network2Work initiative, the UVA president’s Community Council, and community members, intended to be shared with university, city, and county leadership. Ben Allen and others reached out for feedback from community leaders and organizations about what challenges were arising, what strategies were working, and ways to ensure our frontline workers are treated fairly by employers. Among the feed-back and response was a request for more analysis about the frontline workers in our region, which is where the Democratization of Data initiative came in. Adapting work by the Center for Economic and Policy Research, we used public use microdata to represent the frontline and essential workers based on cat-egories of workers identified in collaboration with community partners -- those industries where employees were being asked to keep showing up to support the rest of us -- and generated a local analysis for our region. This analysis was in support of the Frontline Work-ers Fair Treatment Charter, advocating for the needs and rights of our colleagues.

Michele Claibourn and Sam Powers, “Charlottesville Region’s Frontline Workers,” The Equity Center, A UVA Democracy Initiative Center for the Redress of Inequity through Community-Engaged Scholarship, 2020,

Ben Allen, Collette Pierce Burnette, Gregory Washington, and Wim Wiewel, Presi-dent, “Town-Gown and Covid: Answering to the Whole Community, Virtual Forum,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, Aug 19, 2020,