So often we overlook the work and significance of those who are not in professional jobs. Martin Luther King once said " Whenever you are engaged in work that serves humanity it has dignity and it has worth. All labor has dignity." The people who truly deserve our thanks are the forgotten people who keep our country running during this pandemic. They are the immigrants and minorities who are at the front lines, keeping our country going while the majority of us shelter in place. These unsung heroes are the most vulnerable people in our society and they put their lives at risk every day so you can stay home. We all hear the news stories about the sacrifices made by the doctors and nurses who are putting their lives at risk to save people infected by the Coronavirus. We hear cheers every night throughout New York City thanking our hospital workers. We contribute to fundraisers to provide financial assistance to these essential workers to help make their enormous sacrifices a little easier.
While all of these celebrations, fundraisers, government aids, and acts of support are extremely beneficial, none of this support has been given to the undocumented immigrants who put their lives at risk every day. If you are a US citizen, you have access to new government programs that provide money to help buy food, pay rent, and buy medicine, but immigrant workers who contribute an estimated $7 billion per year into Social Security, get nothing. These people are the unsung heroes that clean the hospitals and nursing homes, prepare and deliver the food you eat, the people who wash and clean the sick and elderly, the farm workers who pick the crops, the meat processing workers who provide the meat that you eat, and the drivers who bring you food. The Coronavirus does not discriminate, but governments do. Latinos across the U.S. are disproportionately getting sick from the coronavirus. In some regions Latinos are being infected at up to three times the rate as white Americans. None of these hard working people are given any assistance through the programs recently passed by our federal government. In short, they have been abandoned. This is not right. We need to look at these people in a different way. What they do has dignity and they deserve our thanks.
I am writing this article as a call to action. Next time you have food delivered to your home, go to the grocery store or see a hospital or nursing home on the news, don’t forget the unsung heros who make all of this happen. They are the janitors, the nursing assistants, the food delivery people, and farm workers who give you the ability to stay at home out of harm's way. Millions of these people have lost their jobs. They are the waiters, dishwashers, and cooks from your favorite restaurants who now have no money to buy food, medicine, or pay their rent and are not able to support their children. My hope for the future when the virus is under control and things return to normal is for people to remember what these people did for us when it really counted and show our appreciation. These people deserve our thanks and hopefully a path to legalize their immigration status in this country. Mother Teresa once said, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” Remember this when you see someone in need and you are able to help.
If you or someone you know needs to find a food bank in California, please click this link "Food for Californians". This map details 1,800+ food banks, pantries and emergency distribution centers up and down California where residents can pick up free food. My name is David T. Acalin and I am an immigration attorney. I have been practicing law for 36 years. Our staff has years of experience and a huge number of success stories with immigrants. Let us represent you and you will see we know how to get things done.