Looking on the bright side: essential workers

Julianna Chang, News Editor

The risks of going outside during this time are many: increased chances of both catching and spreading the virus to other high-risk groups, endangering your family and friends and, most importantly, risking your life. The virus, having caused an unprecedented number of deaths in the past few months, has upended our lives in more ways than one. What used to be an economic divide between the rich and the poor is now represented by the gap between those who are privileged
enough to work from home and those who are not. Although most Americans are now working and learning from within the safety of their own homes, there are still people out there who are sacrificing their lives for the greater good.

In the early days of the virus, the brave and selfless front-line workers were generalized into sharing one common duty: health care. But as the days passed, students have realized that it is not only the many hospital workers that risk their lives for the sake of others who deserve to be celebrated—it’s also the grocery store workers, the delivery services and the people that continue working outside of their homes to provide for others. As each new day in shelter-in-place comes and goes, the appreciation for health care and essential workers spreads throughout the world, increasing daily through acts of service and widespread praise.

Just a few months ago, we too often viewed the grocery baggers and store clerks, the food delivery services and gas station workers as dispensable, failing to appreciate the work that they put in daily. We were unable to see the value of their roles and the effect that they have on our economy. Now, as only those who can afford to work from home are safely protected inside, the community has begun to appreciate the work that was once taken for granted. Every day, essential workers leave their families and their homes to provide for the community during this unprecedented time; they have become the foundation of our economy. We also now realize that they are the protectors of our health—without them, our lives during this pandemic would not only be noticeably more difficult, but we’d be constantly at risk as well.

In light of the pandemic, Gunn students have shown their admiration through acts of service. Many student-run organizations, such as the Essential Heroes Campaign, aim to share their support and praise by placing signs around town, thanking the essential workers for giving back. Furthermore, communities throughout the world show widespread praise daily through coordinated cheers and community togetherness.

Although COVID-19 has negatively impacted our community in more ways than one, it has brought about increased appreciation for the essential workers who continue to selflessly provide the necessities during this difficult time. The community must continue to come together and support those who help us survive.