Bay Area Amazonians Hold Juneteenth Vigil Featuring Installation by AE Marling

Oakland Ca, 06/18/2020 / /

Bay Area Amazonians Holds Juneteenth Vigil And Calls on Amazon to

Back Up Rhetoric With Action

Newly formed worker group draws parallels between slavery, racism and Amazon’s treatment of its

“unskilled” workforce.

Adrienne Williams decided to start Bay Area Amazonians when she struggled to get assistance from

Amazon’s COVID relief fund, even though she believed herself to be eligible. Through her work

helping to organize the May 1st action, she was introduced to workers from all over the country,

including quite a few fellow Amazon employees. “What we recognized was that we were all facing

similar problems,” said the 42 year old mother of one, “and the common thread seemed to be our

employer. People are really afraid to speak out because they know how Amazon will respond. We felt

like they needed a place to feel safe to speak out.”

Williams’ cofounder John Hopkins, says that it wasn’t hard, once they came up with the idea for Bay

Area Amazonians, to know what the groups first event would be. “Adrienne and I are both black, so the

moment she mentioned wanting to do a vigil on Juneteenth I immediately understood the significance

of it.” The two say they want to draw a connection between their working conditions at Amazon, the

police brutality black people suffer daily, and the disproportionate effect that Covid-19 has had on the

black community.

“Since the George Floyd protests, it seems like there’s been a big shift. People are more open to having

a conversation about race,” said Williams. “We saw this as an opportunity to ‘widen the aperture’ of the

discussion. We want people to understand that racism isn’t just confederate flags and the n-word. It’s

about things like what Amazon’s General Counsel David Zapolsky said about another black organizer

to justify his firing. It’s things like Jeff Bezos saying slavery ended a long time ago while not paying a

living wage.” Williams hopes the event will help attract workers to join their newly formed group.

They’ve put together a website, where workers can sign up for their newsletter and learn more about

their activities.

“We’ve got big plans. I’m a technologist, and I’ve got a lot of ideas for how we can use technology to

overcome the challenge of Amazon cracking down on organizing in our warehouses,” said Hopkins. He

knows of what he speaks, he’s currently serving a suspension for what Amazon says is a “social

distancing violation” but he says it’s because he demanded his union flyers not be discriminated against.

“Even the social distancing violations parallel the War On Drugs – first you decide who the criminals

are, and then you write laws that let you discriminate against those people.” He says, “the way they

respond mirrors how police respond after shooting civilians.” “They like to look at everything as

singular, one off events, and avoid talking about the larger system. It is time that we start looking at

systems of oppression, instead of just instances of oppression.”

“As above so below,” said Williams. “The systemic racism is in all American institutions, and that

includes Amazon. If Amazon really stands in solidarity with us, they should prove it by listening to us

about solutions.”

Vigil will take place Friday June 19th, 2020 at 8:30pm at 6015 Giant Hwy, Richmond, CA 94806

Contact Info: Adrienne Williams – Founder – @adrienneandgp

John Hopkins – Member – @jphoniks

Bay Area Amazonians: Twitter: @AreaAmazon

Email: [email protected] Web:


Social Media Tags:Black Lives Matter, Amazon, Essential Workers, Juneteenth


Release ID: 13582