This May Day we’re releasing Rona Report 2.0, a comparative narrative analysis of the inaugural Rona Report we released a year ago where we explored narrative trends, content, messages and stories around the economy, jobs and workers under COVID-19.
In an era of pandemic exacerbated by climate chaos and state violence, the ongoing and often unseen collective trauma is still palpable one year since the latest coronavirus made itself known. COVID-19 has uprooted our reality, and at the same time, offers us a chance to reimagine what our world can look like if we adopt values of care, interdependence, and social solidarity.
We believe the moment is ripe to continue reshaping narratives to imbue new meaning that projects and creates the world we want for the next seven generations.
We are all witnessing firsthand how the pandemic is cracking open narratives about the economy and workers in new ways. Over the last year, we developed and iterated upon our analysis from the first report revisiting the narrative landscape at the intersection of the pandemic, the economy and workers.
During that time we saw an enormous response of the collective care we so desperately needed all across the country — mutual aid and grassroots mobilizations to get friends, family and neighbors the help they needed, a summer of uprisings where millions of people demanded the end to hyper militarized racist policing, and an election that was won by the sweat equity of Black, Latinx, and Indigenous organizers in battleground states.
At the same time, we saw the opposition respond in earnest through widespread voter suppression and intimidation tactics and a riot at the Capitol, which was born out of authoritarian policies and inhumane actions propagated by the right wing over the last four years. Within this context, chaos agents and unwitting participants have pumped an exorbitant amount of racialized and gendered misinformation and disinformation into the media ecosystem, further destabilizing public discourse. Indeed, we are living in difficult yet transformative times.
The Rona Report: One Year On identifies dominant, emerging and enduring narratives that have shaped the landscape between May 2020 and April 2021. Within this iteration of the Rona Report, you will find in-depth narrative insights and trends as they relate to the economy and workers. You’ll also find key narrative networks and influencers, narrative threats (including the ever present strains of disinformation and misinformation), narrative openings and concrete action steps to mitigate the risks we are to face.
For many of us, the pre-pandemic ‘normal’ was a crisis in and of itself.
The Trump administration’s inaction had a devastating effect on all of us, especially those of us who live at the intersections of being poor and working class, trans and queer, incarcerated and undocumented, disabled and at the throws of white supremacy and nationalism. This state sanctioned, criminal negligence resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of our friends, family, neighbors, and members of our global community.
As we move from red bar graphs highlighting the waves of sickness and death across the United States to the race for herd immunity under a new administration, many of us hold the deep desire to be free of the pandemic and restabilize our lives, and the narrative landscape reflects this desire and the shift in our attitudes about the economy, jobs, and workers over the last year.
COVID-19 has created a dynamic narrative space.
There is a robust set of narrative openings to leverage the current moment and shift narratives around COVID-19 and beyond.
- We have an opportunity right now to redefine the role of government and build governance that prioritizes people, not profits. Conversations around Big Tech and big business also suggest a narrative opening to move the needle on the role the government plays in meeting peoples’ basic needs. The lack of public internet infrastructure and the digital divide, #FreeTheVaccine conversations, democracy and voting, and the forthcoming national infrastructure bill provide opportunities to expand the notion of what is priceless and what resources should be held by the public.
- Amplify and drive conversations that center workers. Make connections across industries. COVID-19 has left a big crack in the conversation about the economy. While productivity and growth are still primary drivers, we have seen the reemergence of #RaisetheWage, and support of unions and an expansion of the social safety net in 2021.
- While we need to tell a clear story about where we’ve been, the crisis moment we’ve arrived at, and where we’re headed, a focus on criticism can often depress action. The harms caused by capitalism, racism, and patriarchy need to be balanced with a clear vision. Project an aspirational vision of the future that speaks to peoples’ material conditions — weariness, exhaustion, and hanging on — and underscores that change is possible. Stitch stories together about mutual aid, creative governance, and people-centered economies that have come out of the pandemic and draw on rich histories. Regularly connect the dots between these disparate stories to weave a bigger narrative on transformative and just governance.
In the coming weeks, we’ll bring you opportunities to connect with us on the narrative research and action steps from Rona Report 2.0 and share more about how to get connected to our exciting project, Signals In The Noise!
more blog posts from reframe
Register for the ReFrame Fall Academy 2023: Where Narrative Power Meets Opportunity!
Register for ReFrame's 2023 Fall Academy – two experiences, one powerful narrative change journey!
Down the Rabbit Hole: Demystifying QAnon Narratives and Networks
Introducing Down the Rabbit Hole: Demystifying QAnon Narratives and Networks
Stephanie Gasca Por Siempre: Stories of Love and Resilience
An Ode to a Real One: Stephanie Gasca - Rest in Power
Trans Athletes: A Narrative Analysis
This Trans Day of Visibility, we’re releasing new narrative research on transgender athletes as one layer in this complex narrative contest. Find out more about who is driving the conversation and how critical narratives about fairness and safety shape the landscape.
"We Did It!" Not a Solo Founder Story
A founding story grounded in movement values and a collective vision.
Cha-Cha-Cha-Cha-Changes... A Note from ReFrame's Outgoing ED
Co-founding Executive Director, Joseph Phelan, on why he is leaving ReFrame and what's next.
CATALYZING RIPPLES: REFRAME’S 2023 NARRATIVE PREDICTIONS!
Catalyzing Ripples lays out the narrative themes, evolving story trends and emerging opportunities and risks that can serve as a guide in the year ahead.
Breaking Q! From Disinfo Distraction to Narrative Strategy
An interview with Ivie Osaghae and Bia Jackson of #TeamReFrame as they are immersed in our QAnon narrative research and deprogramming work in collaboration with Women’s March. The team explores QAnon as a big tent conspiracy theory and introduces research around how people are drawn into conspiratorial practices like QAnon or Q adjacent networks.
Time for the All-Stars! Meet ReFrame's Senior Cohort
Since 2015 when we launched the ReFrame Mentorship, we have been investing in leaders and organizations to build a durable, long-term narrative power infrastructure that along with organizing, can bend the arc of history towards justice. In line with this vision, we saw an opening that led us to the Senior Narrative Power Cohort.
Skilling Up to Build Narrative Power: Reflections on Narrative Power 101
Over 800 hundred organizers, creatives, and strategists joined ReFrame for Narrative Power 101 (in real-time and asynchronously!), to skill up and build narrative power to win.
Answering the Call - NPS '22 Reflections
Opening statements from ReFrame Executive Director, Joseph Phelan, and ReFrame Deputy Director, Hermelinda Cortés, along with photos from the 2022 Narrative Power Summit.
Register Now for Narrative Power 101 Training
Join ReFrame on October 25th for Narrative Power 101! This free virtual training reviews the fundamentals of narrative and disinformation while offering new approaches and practical steps for your everyday work.
Introducing the Narrative Power Summit!
This October 6-8, ReFrame and RadComms are bringing narrative power builders together for a hybrid summit in Long Beach, CA!
What is Safety Really? Organizing for a New Way
Jenny Lee and Damon Motz-Storey were in a six-month fellowship run by ReFrame in partnership with the Northwest Health Foundation. We took a few minutes to check-in on how they are doing.
Ukraine, Democracy and the Far Right
The TL;DR - How the meme of a Ukrainian granny with a gun hides a far right secret OR the fog of war is murky, beware of the far right OR, the fight for multi-racial democracy at home and abroad.
Collective Bargaining for Stronger Communities
As we grow the narrative power ecosystem we need to win we are taking moments to highlight the awesome strategists we get to work with. Luo was a participant in the ReFrame Summer Academy and we took a few minutes to check-in on how she is doing.
What the South Taught Me About Predicting Narratives
The God's honest work and lineage of organizing in the South taught me that understanding not just the political terrain but the narrative landscape is essential to building power. Our movements can contend for power at the level of ideas, beliefs, and values and set the narrative arena in which we organize.
The Promise of ReFrame
ReFrame’s Executive Director, Joseph Phelan, recounts his time as a communicator and organizer at Miami Workers Center as part of the inspiration for the vision and promise of ReFrame to build narrative power at scale. “I could see a future where we were touching these contacts with targeted messages and stories that overtime lead to a shift in worldview.”
Through The Looking Glass: 2022 Narrative Predictions
SAVE THE DATE: Through The Looking Glass - 2022 Narrative Predictions
Shifting the Culture of Crime and Punishment
As we grow the narrative power ecosystem we need to win we are taking moments to highlight the awesome strategists we get to work with. Talia Gad is a participant in the Northwest Health Foundation Fellowship and we took a few minutes to check-in on how she is doing.
ReFrame x NWHF Narrative Fellowship
ReFrame and Northwest Health teamed up to train leaders in community organizations in the Pacific Northwest to engage in narrative work to win.
THE RONA REPORT: THE ECONOMY, WORKERS & UNEMPLOYMENT
Exploring the narrative weather of Covid-19. The Rona Report is a project of ReFrame and Solea Signals. COVID time is confusing. It can feel like light speed and sloth slow all at once.
GOTV: Tools for Fighting Disinformation NOW & Beyond
Many who believe in justice are fighting hard for victories at the ballot box. However, our opponents are spreading disinformation that threaten the just future we are all working towards.
Threat Modeling & Swot Planning
At ReFrame, drawing from our experiences inside of other crisis moments, two of the tools we’ve been using to coordinate our team in the time of COVID-19 is individual and organizational threat modeling & SWOT planning.
A Movement Moment: Narrative in the Time of Corona
We are here with you. Our hearts and thoughts are with everyone who is struggling right now.
Creating an Ecosystem for Narrative Power
The political landscape is shifting by the week. What we need to stay above the current is what will allow us to build narrative power for the long-haul.
A Spectacular Start to the 2019 Reframe Program
The fifth class of the ReFrame Mentorship kicked off in May with a spectacular Opening Convening in Denver and Breckenridge, Colo.
5 Minutes With Power California’s Jung Hee Choi
Jung Hee Choi is a Senior Advisor and mentor for ReFrame and the Associate Director for Communications and Policy Strategies for Power California.
Introducing the 2019 Reframe Mentorship Cohort
At ReFrame, we envision national and international movements buoyed by hundreds of thousands of strategists who are collaborating to develop and advance deep narratives that bend the long arc of history toward justice.
Black Panther: The Movie About Blackness That Reflected Back Gold
First things first, if you have NOT yet seen Black Panther, stop reading right now and go watch it. Yes, RIGHT NOW. Then come back later and read this.
ReFrame Gives Me Hope (Video)
Some of the ReFrame mentors reflect on their mentees and the hope they have for the future.
It’s Humanizing (Video)
Shanelle Matthews, ReFrame mentor and Communications Director at Black Lives Matter Global Network, reflects on why learning and collaborative spaces like ReFrame are humanizing and powerful for oppressed communities.
Build The Story (Video)
Brandon Hill, who works with Cook Inlet Keeper, talks about why he applied for and participated in ReFrame.
We Have a Responsibility to Our Ancestors (Video)
Fresco Steez, who works with BYP100, talks about the importance of story and the responsibility of building power towards action to end oppression for all people.
Hope & Liberation (Video)
JaNaé Bates, who works with ISAIAH, talks about shifting narratives away from fear and towards hope and liberation.
ReFrame For Our Future (Video)
The ReFrame Mentorship is a six-month program that builds the next generation of strategic communicators in social justice, and supports organization to integrate communications as a core strategy.
Lessons From the Field: Fighting Trump’s Deportation Machine
Immigrant rights organizations like Juntos, a Latinx grassroots group in Philadelphia, have been mobilizing powerfully in the months since Donald Trump took office. For Miguel Andrade, the communications manager at Juntos and a 2017 ReFrame mentee, strategic communications has played a critical role in their organizing work.
Lessons From the Field: Climate Change Organizing in the Trump Era
For 27 years, Cook Inletkeeper has worked to protect Alaska’s waterways and the life and people that they sustain. According to Brandon Hill, the organization’s Communications Director and a 2017 ReFrame mentee, that work is always an uphill battle.
Lessons From the Field: Winning the Fight to Save the Internet
Fake news, corporate control of the internet, digital surveillance, law enforcement agencies using big data to target communities of color — all of these issues have taken on increasing importance in recent years. The Center for Media Justice (CMJ), founded in 2008, is at the forefront in ensuring that communities of color are at the center of the debate and policy solutions to these critical problems.
Lessons From The Field Strategic Communications For Statewide Organizations
For statewide organizations that work on a variety of issues, it can often be difficult for their communications staff to manage and plan strategies to effectively get the word out about all of their organization’s work.
Lessons For The Movement
When we launched ReFrame in 2015, we had one mission in mind: to develop the next generation of strategic communicators — leaders rooted in grassroots movements who understand how to shape and control the narrative and stories about the issues they work on and, equally importantly, have the strategic thinking and skills to do so.
Dream of Where to Go
Reflection and evaluation allows us to understand if we are on the path to realizing our dreams. Heading into our third year of building the next generation of social justice communicators, we took time to reflect on what we have done so far.
Why Add Communications to Organizing Strategy? (Video)
Aquilina Soriano Versoza, Pilipino Workers Center
Fighting Disinformation, Building Narrative Power
We are organizing and telling stories on an uneven playing field, where the underlying narratives have long been shaped by highly conservative forces. This is the playing field on which mis-and-disinformation is spreading. So how do we combat it?
Announcing the new Disinfo Defense Toolkit!
Curated by ReFrame and PEN America for the Disinfo Defense League. Powerful tools to push back while continuing to advance our work for justice
We Came To Win: Reflections on Narrative Power in the 2020 Election
How key strategists built narrative power in 2020 during a global pandemic, the rise of the largest demonstrations for racial justice in US history, the highest rate of voter turnout and a significant defeat of Trumpism at the polls.
Defanging Disinformation: 6 Action Steps Nonprofits Can Take
Disinformation has become more effective at generating chaos and seeding doubt in reality. As part of our work with the Disinformation Defense League, ReFrame and This is Signals have committed to sharing lessons learned with the field and action steps on how to slow the spread of disinformation.