My name is Estrellita Beatriz; pronouns starr/e. I am looking for community support to pay back the debt that COVID as left me with.
My arts non-profit eliminated my position on June 1st with less then 24hr notice. Leaving me with virtually no time to budget or piece to together saving funds. I was already living very much pay check to pay check; cost of living in DC is high and let’s face it arts nonprofit pay-scales is archaic. My ex-employer gave me a modest 2,000 (one two week pay cycle) severance package and set me to apply for unemployment. To which I was denied unemployment for seven weeks due to an unemployment clerical error. During this month and a half, I cleared out my savings including my severance and started to accumulate debt.
Still, I remained hopeful that I would be able to appeal the decision. I logged over 150 calls and emails to the Unemployment office trying to gain access to a document integral to the appeal process. Finally in late August, I was able to submit an appeal but the court of appeals has been radio silent. I don’t even know if they have received my appeal or its status. I call them every week and no matter the day all I get is a voicemail. Leaving me out of the loop and hopeless about receiving the ~6,000 dollars of back pay I was expecting.
Still unable to work because of my unemployment status, I have tried to create community workshops and retreats, all donation based, to fill my income gap but I have not had any monetary success. The money that I raised went to advertisement and schooling. I am currently studying to be a full spectrum birth and death doula. Both dragging me further into debt but giving me access to a career outside of the arts. I have always made my money from the arts since graduating high school and now that path seems unsustainable because the arts industry might take 5-10yrs recover from the effects of the pandemic. I have also applied to 30 grants and funding opportunities with no support gifted.
My interest rates on will begin to rise at the start of March 2021. I am hoping that with your help, I am able to raise funds by to clear my COVID debt before then. My unemployment will also expire around the same time and I am fearful about what will happen if I am unable to pay off this debt before then.I know that this a tough year for all. I am not usually someone to ask for handout or help but I do not know what else I can do.
Supporting me through this would mean everything to me. It would virtually free me from debt that I accumulated during COVID allowing me to continue on caring for the community around me and myself after my unemployment runs out in March 2021. It would also allow me to stop counting pennies while I am on unemployment. Currently, I receive 300 from the state a week. In order to make my bills and rent, I must save 200 dollars from each check leaving me with 100 or less some weeks for food and necessities.
I would be immense grateful to you for any size of donation that you can spare. Also, I am will be design personalized postcards for every donor to share with their loved ones.
- Annalisa Dias Mandoly
- Lucia Martinez
- Elynora Sapp
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