For the rest of my life I will be in the vulnerable category. Be it the California wildfires, this global pandemic or any unforeseen future cataclysmic events that can threaten my health and my life because of the cancer I have already survived (thus far). Over the course of the past three years I have come to appreciate how dependent I am on other people particularly in light of becoming disabled by this disease.
Right now the country and the world are in crisis and there are people in all our communities who continue to work in order so we can continue to live. These essential workers make sure we can access food to nourish our bodies- they continue to work in the fields, and the canneries and they stock the shelves in our grocery stores, corner markets and bodegas. They cook in the kitchens of the eateries and restaurants we miss gathering in and they deliver the food to our doors. They bring stacks of boxes of all kinds of important supplies like toilet paper and medical prescriptions to our homes and mailboxes. They continue to pick up our trash and recyclables and sweep the streets of refuse. They cash our checks and answer our questions about our credit. They care for our babies and our elders and care for so many of us who are infected with this awful virus. They work long hours at great risk to themselves and they give us life through it all.
I spoke with a worker at a grocery delivery service the other day and I broke into sobbing ugly tears when I started to thank them for all they do and I realized I needed to do more than say thank you.
I need to…no WE need to fight so that these workers get raises, hazard pay, health insurance and paid sick leave. They should have safety training and supplies to protect themselves- soap and wash stations, sanitizer, gloves and masks. They should have protocols in place to protect them.. Our gratitude can be an action. Our thanks can translate into fighting for them and demanding just compensation and protection. They should know we have their backs because they continue to give us life everyday.