Nurses, millworkers, teachers, grocery workers, small business owners, public health workers, and workers laid off due to COVID-19 paraded through the rain in their cars through Aberdeen, Hoquiam, and Montesano last week to show thanks and support to the working families who are on the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis.
The caravan, 25 people strong, also shared public health and food bank information and made several stops to safely deliver food to out-of-work families, including food donated by local small businesses.
The car caravan was organized by members of Firelands Workers United/Trabajadores Unidos, an organization advocating for workers in rural Washington. Volunteers and workers from various food banks, the Grays Harbor Health Department, schools, and small businesses also took part.
“This caravan was to give thanks and support to the doctors, nurses, firefighters, teachers, construction, millworkers, grocery workers, farm workers, and other essential workers, as well as those staying home without work or without access to any relief,” said a woman who is a local grocery store worker. “We wanted to let people know that they are not alone and that we are in this together.”
Banners on the cars read, “Standing Strong Together/Fuertes y Unidos,” and, “Thank you Essential Workers!” and “Teachers Support You!” and “Thanks Truck Drivers, Timber Workers, Grocery Workers, Nurses, CAN’s, Teachers, Bus Drivers…”
David Henson, a retired veteran and Westport resident who joined the caravan, said, “Whenever there is an economic crisis, the Harbor gets hit really hard. People are losing work, going into debt, falling behind on bills. During a time of plenty, big businesses and corporations rely on us to make their money, but in a time of need, too many of them don’t want to take responsibility for the safety or well-being of their workers. They even gobbled up much of the relief money meant for small businesses. We need to come together to make sure working families and small businesses get the support they need through this crisis so we don’t have to choose between our health and our pocketbooks.”
Jessica Molina, an Aberdeen resident and employee with Grays Harbor Public Health said, “Seeing people wave at us from their window and their porch was emotional. We saw how excited people were about our message of support. COVID has highlighted areas that need more attention and support in the community. While we have to respond to this COVID situation immediately, we also need to think about long-term solutions to better protect and serve our community. Because a lot of people were already struggling.”