The light at the end of the pandemic tunnel has gotten a little brighter recently, especially as the number of U.S. COVID-related hospitalizations continues to dwindle and the number of fully vaccinated people in the country reaches nearly 40% of the population.1
Yet in this moment of optimism for brighter days ahead, we’re also reminded to take a moment to reflect on those who carried us through the darker days; those whose professions could not allow them to work safely from the comfort of their own homes; those who kept showing up to provide an essential service to keep our cities alive, healthy, and safe.
May kicks off a month of international recognition of labor, starting with May Day (International Day of Labor) on May 1st. This week, we’d like to pay tribute to our nation’s nurses and teachers.
With National Nurses’ Week from May 6th to May 12th, we are reminded of the extremely difficult pandemic year our nurses had on the frontlines in hospitals and medical offices. During Teachers’ Appreciation Week, celebrated from May 3rd to May 7th, we honor our teachers on the frontlines of the battle for continuing education under the most difficult and tiresome circumstances. Nurses and teachers are both essential workers and we owe them a tremendous amount of gratitude for their services this year.
Nurses are the workers responsible for taking care of our sick loved ones, for being there with them in the hospital when we couldn’t, and for bearing the emotional burden of thousands of lost lives throughout the duration of this past year. Even with a PPE shortage in the early days of the pandemic, nurses continued to show up and dedicate themselves to the crisis at hand, urging the rest of the nation to stay home, socially distance, and wear masks.
Throughout most of 2020 and the early part of 2021, many teachers were forced to adapt to virtual classroom settings, to learn new methods of engaging their students through a computer screen, and to accept new standards of classroom participation considering the circumstances of the child’s home, personal resources, and familial surroundings. Despite more than a year of these grueling circumstances, teachers remained dedicated to maintaining some semblance of normalcy and education for the youth of our nation.
As the first union-owned company to have a public offering and with the union still our largest shareholder, we proudly consider ourselves the bank for the working people. Last year in 2020, we launched the Frontline Workers’ Fund to provide financial support to the workers and families on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our longstanding commitment to workers’ rights and building an economy that allows all workers an equal opportunity to thrive has never wavered, and we remain as dedicated as ever to supporting workers throughout this difficult period.
At this time, Amalgamated Bank would like to explicitly extend its deepest gratitude to all the workers on the frontlines of the pandemic, with special appreciation for our country’s nurses and teachers this week.
1 States ranked by percentage of population fully vaccinated: May 3 (beckershospitalreview.com)