How we got here - and where we're going
Journalists across the country are telling story after story after story about how devastating the COVID-19 pandemic has been on caregivers. Parents, especially mothers, and those who are caring for disabled people and the elderly are leaving jobs by the hundreds of thousands and staying home in order to take care of our society's most vulnerable members. While media coverage is important, those individual stories are a piecemeal depiction of a pervasive and pernicious social problem: the lives of caregivers, the majority of them women, are being submerged beneath mountains of care work, and there is no one is helping them. The majority of these stories of what caregivers are facing during this pandemic will never make it to the digital or physical pages of major newspapers. Instead, like most stories of people on the margins, they will simply disappear.
Submerged: An Archive Of Caregivers Underwater will work to preserve those vital stories rather than abandon them. Founder Dr. Megan Pillow is creating a digital space to house stories of caregivers in the COVID-19 pandemic so that no one will forget that during its biggest national crisis, this country was propped up not by politicians, or government safety nets, but by its caregivers. Dr. Pillow is using her background in archival studies, disability studies, and minoritarian literatures to build an interdisciplinary digital environment that will focus on the recording, chronicling, and preservation of the marginalized stories that have historically been left out of archives in this country.
But Dr. Pillow is a single mom herself, and she's launching this project largely on her own. Until she can establish the archive as a nonprofit, she will rely on crowdsourced funding through Patreon and community support to make it work. By becoming a patron, you'll be showing your support for mothers everywhere who are watching their livelihoods, their independence, and their identities disappear under the weight of a country and an economy that is offering little to no support to them. At the same time, your funding will also provide immediate, tangible support for mothers and families: while Dr. Pillow constructs her website, establishes partnerships, and invites on board members, every month she'll donate 25 percent of her proceeds to nonprofits on the ground right now supporting mothers and families.
Together, we can save those stories. Together, we can create an archive that can preserve the stories of caregivers in the pandemic, and in time, the stories of caregivers at large, both for posterity and so that they can serve as a foundational tool to push for policy changes that can create a broader network of social support for caregivers in the United States. And we should push for that preservation as well as for a network of caregiver support.
Because every caregiver, and every story, should be saved.