Labor Day is a time to recognize workers across our great state and nation and honor the sacrifice, dedication, and commitment to keeping our families healthy, our children educated, our food supply stocked, and our economy going.

This Labor Day, more so than those in the recent past, we understand how critical essential workers like doctors, teachers, nurses, custodians, first responders, and food supply workers, just to name a few are to our daily lives.

These individuals make an active decision every day that the health and well-being of their community is worth the increased risk they face in their jobs. While we should thank all workers daily, today I want to express a deep gratitude and appreciation for the American worker from everyone who relies on them every day.

We all recognize that everyone across this nation is experiencing significant hardships due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This virus has forced us all to make difficult decisions – Should I go to the grocery store to get what I need? Should we send our children to school or day care? Is it safe for me to see loved ones?

While these challenges have been incredibly difficult for all of us, workers, especially our essential workers, have the added burden of facing increased exposure every day and worrying they might bring the virus home to those they love. The paramedics who puts the safety of their community before themselves; the teachers working double time and spending their own savings to create an environment where students feel safe and can learn, whether that be remotely or in person; food bank personnel ensuring that everyone has access to a meal at the end of the day. These people are who make us strong; who keep us safe; and who will be the reason we are able to emerge from this pandemic stronger than ever.

These workers cannot do it alone though. It is going to require collective action by all of us to beat this virus. Only by working together and following guidance from health professionals like the CDC will we be able to ensure the economy bounces back for everyone. The impact of the Texas worker is felt both at home and abroad, and it will be because of their sweat, dedication, and perseverance that our state and nation is second to none. This is why Labor Day is special to our families and our country.

Editor’s Note: The above guest column was penned by state Sen. Juan Hinojosa of McAllen, Texas. It appears in The Rio Grande Guardian with the permission of the author. Hinojosa can be reached via: [email protected]


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