Today marks the 21st annual May Day Celebration of Immigrant and Worker’s Rights. This year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order, celebrations may look different, but the passion and support are still as strong as ever.
The organizers from the grassroots organization El Comite, are shifting the traditional peaceful march and celebrations of this historic day to this caravan to Olympia and awareness campaign recognizing essential workers and the impacts of the exclusion of mixed-status and undocumented immigrant families face from federal COVID-19 relief aid.
The City of Seattle is supporting community efforts to celebrate International Workers’ Day by launching this Get Loud for Essential Workers campaign. See below for more information.
Who is an essential worker in your life?
Are you or someone you know a healthcare, grocery, or other frontline worker risking their health to ensure people can still access goods and services during this COVID-19 pandemic? Share your story! We want to hear from our essential workers and show our appreciation. Share a story, picture, or video via social media throughout Friday, May 1, 2020. Use these hashtags: #EssentialWorkerAppreciation, #GetLoudForEssentialWorkers, #MayDay2020, and #SeattleTogether.
City of Seattle departments and community-based organizations will also be posting messages of support for workers and small businesses throughout the day using these same hashtags.
Show your appreciation and GET LOUD!
Join us on Essential Worker Appreciation Day by saying thank you to those we depend on the most during these difficult times. Let’s show them how much we love and appreciate them! On May 1, at 8:00 PM sharp, we’re asking all Seattle residents to join in a moment of loud appreciation by making even more joyful noise! Open your windows. Stand on balconies, in your front yards, backyards, and anywhere you may be. Then make a joyful noise so frontline workers know how much we appreciate them! Invite your friends, family, and neighbors to join in showing our collective appreciation.
Connect essential workers to resources:
Anyone, regardless of your work status, can visit the City of Seattle COVID-19 Resource Page to learn more about City of Seattle, King County, Washington State, federal, and community programs and services that can help residents significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. You can also learn more about the services listed on this page over the phone by calling the City of Seattle Customer Service Bureau from Monday to Friday, 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM at (206) 684-2489 or (206) 684-CITY.
Here’s a look at how a few City of Seattle departments are reaching out to say thank you to essential workers:
- Office of Arts and Culture is featuring a poem from Seattle Civic Poet Jourdan Keith and is highlighting yard signs created by local artists in honor of the contributions of workers on the frontlines. Please click here to find out more.
- Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs (OIRA) is uplifting immigrants and their economic contributions. And if any resident has questions about public charge and enrolling in any local, state, or federal program, they can access our COVID-19 Assistance and Public Charge FAQ for Immigrants post here, which has been translated into six languages. You can also call us at (206) 727-8515 if you have further general questions about the information in the post.
- Office of Labor Standards (OLS) is working together with its community and business outreach and education fund partners to recognize both essential workers and essential businesses that continue to keep their doors open and help them navigate Seattle’s labor standards. OLS will also be hosting a Facebook event page and invites you to share your appreciation for our front-line essential workers. More information on labor laws here.
- Office of Economic Development is providing technical assistance to businesses applying for Small Business Administration (SBA) loans and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to make sure small business owners have the resources they need to maintain their payroll, hire back employees who have been laid off, and cover applicable overhead. For assistance with these programs please email OED@seattle.gov or call (206) 684-8090. For more information click here.
- Seattle Public Library created an International Workers’ Day Book List with both fiction and non-fiction literature for adults that includes depictions of essential workers and labor unions in e-book or e-audiobook. The list features a number of genres, authors of color, and books about doctors, nurses, convenience store and supermarket workers, restaurant workers and owners, booksellers, yard workers, and more. They also offer a children’s book list: Essential Workers & Community Helpers: (mostly) eBooks for Kids. And stay tuned for some themed story times! Learn more here.
- Seattle Fire will honor all those working on the frontlines to keep us safe and healthy this May Day with their ongoing Friday Day Lights campaign. This Friday, May 1, from 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM, a parade of fire engines, police cars, ladder trucks, and other first responder vehicles will wind their way through designated Seattle neighborhoods. All are welcome to say hi, and offer a friendly wave at a socially appropriate distance. View the map to see if your house is in the yellow highlighted area.
- Office for Civil Rights will elevate messaging about protections against discrimination and harassment for essential workers. Read more about protections for workers here.
- Department of Neighborhoods is reminding us that #YourCountMatters by highlighting the importance of making sure that we all complete the 2020 Census. An accurate Census count helps ensure that essential workers are able to access accurately proportionate resources. Plus it is important that all essential workers are counted during the Census that only happens every 10 years. You can still respond to the census online, by phone, or by mail. Visit the U.S. 2020 Census website to make sure you get counted! They will also be sharing a video for essential workers on social media. Be sure to follow them at twitter.com/SEAneighborhood.
Join us by sharing our Facebook event page and make sure to invite your family, friends, neighbors, and all the essential workers in your life: www.facebook.com/events/537972920428987.
We leave you with this poem written by Seattle’s Civic Poet Jourdan Keith in honor of Essential Workers Appreciation Day:
For you who are always on the frontlines.
Nobody thanks the Stars until
they see them.
No one sees them
until it’s dark.
By Jourdan Keith
2019-2021 Seattle Civic Poet