Americans rang in the New Year with a federal government shutdown that thinned and emptied the pockets of thousands of working families, all under the guise of border security. After more than a month, it took action by workers to end this insensitive and unreasonable hostage of their paychecks—or so we’ve yet to see.
Still, more proof, if it was ever needed, that the power rests within the people and our collective power to create change. This important truth was evident on a local level too. In Fresno, courageous Fresno Superior Court workers represented by SEIU Local 521, where I work as communications specialist, went on an indefinite Unfair Labor Practice strike, drawing attention to the inadequate investments in the Fresno County justice system. It took a five-day work stoppage to ensure an accessible justice system for all of Fresno County residents and dignity for workers and their families. As usual, however, it takes a fight.
It doesn’t have to seem or be a David versus Goliath type of match if the community reflects on how much each person has in common with his or her neighbor. This was evident for educators in Los Angeles, as they witnessed overwhelming support by their students and parents, demonstrating to each person on the strike line just how much the community values the work they do for the key role they play in shaping the future of our communities.
“A fear of the abuse of the worker, families, people of color, the LGBTQ community, immigrants and many other marginalized groups in our communities is what should take over these media outlets instead.”
Still, following the UTLA’s big wins, a strike fear washed all over headlines in mainstream media. A fear of the abuse of the worker, families, people of color, the LGBTQ community, immigrants and many other marginalized groups in our communities is what should take over headline media outlets instead. It is a cycle of fear, disappointment and anger seeing the normalization of aggressions toward so many already disadvantaged and underserved people.
More than two years have gone by since the biggest electoral heartbreak in the United States in recent memory, but the upshot is we begin to feel and see hope as more decent names emerge throwing their hat in the ring for a presidential bid. In addition, more women of color are rightfully taking seats in elected positions, more accurately reflecting their constituents and bravely speaking up for issues that affect the lives of everyday Americans.
We will not only continue to pay attention but also to hold all of those who are voted in to represent us accountable for their words and their actions. It is a democratic government that makes the United States of America truly great after all.