Joel Thrift - May 2020

The Disability DIGEST 404-618-4816

May 2020

We’re in This Together Joel Thrift on Labor Day andWhy Encouraging Compassion Is Important

I know how challenging these times can be for all of us; when I’m working on cases or thinking about the newsletter, I don’t usually have all three of my kids next to me constantly, like I have lately. But that doesn’t impact my dedication to my work because I know something else is far more important. Right now, we need to be compassionate toward each other. I represent many people who are considered essential during a national crisis: teachers, nurses, grocery store clerks, and truck drivers. These people deserve to be recognized and appreciated every day, but now more than ever. I’m working as much as I can to ensure our justice system stands on their side, even if they can’t go back to work right now. Proper appreciation for America’s hardest workers is a battle we’ve won in the past, although there’s been some palpable conflict over it within our borders. We tend to celebrate Labor Day in September, while the rest of the world celebrates International Workers’ Day in May. Historically, there’s a big separation between the two holidays, but both Labor Day and International Workers’ Day originated in the U.S. When trade and labor unions started to gain real traction in the late 19th century, many organizations began to demand a day for society to honor its laborers. One particularly violent labor riot on May 1, 1886, known as the Haymarket affair in Chicago, left several civilians and policemen dead. In 1889, the first congress of the Second International in Paris commemorated the event by declaring May 1 as May Day, or International Workers’Day. The problem? The Second International got a bad rap within U.S. borders because of the Socialist and Communist parties involved.

with her. It wasn’t necessarily a kid’s dream come true — the food delivered didn’t always smell right to me (and the car continued to smell for years afterward). But as I did it consistently, I realized the service was more than a welfare check to these people. It was a way for the community check in with them and understand what they’re going through. That’s something I try to keep inmind for my kids: It’s a generational lesson we should emphasize. My mom learned it fromher dad, who owned an office supply business, and gave homeless guys hear his office free pencils to sell. I have somuch appreciation for my mom and for the way she taught me to be kind to people. We’re in this together. Stay healthy and safe, and be sure to show appreciation for your essential local workers!

While 30 states had already celebrated it as an official holiday, Labor Day became a federal holiday celebrated on Sept. 1 in 1894, mostly to separate ourselves from the Socialist and Communist associations. It’s an interesting bit of trivia if you’re ever a game show contestant. But I think it’s important, too, to recognize the past and our progress. It makes me think one thing: We’ll get through this. Government holidays can’t force us to have compassion, though. We often learn this from others, and one of the people who taught me the most about empathy is my mother. Mother’s Day is this May, and although I couldn’t drive to see my mom due to the pandemic, I want to recognize how she consistently shows people in her life that caring for others matters. Compassion is an incredible, lifelong lesson, but it’s not always a lesson I enjoyed at first. I used to deliver Meals onWheels as a kid because, well, my momwould force me to go | 1 –Joel Thrift

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