Editorial: We Are the People Who Make America Great

January 11, 2021

And now we must work to undo the damage of the last four years.

Screen Shot 2021-01-11 at 12.15.26 PM.pngWith any luck, as you read this, moving trucks are on their way to Washington, DC.

COVID’s second wave is gripping the country. We are facing some of the deadliest days in American history. And at the same time, we have endured two hallucinatory months of Donald Trump’s tantrums, tweets, and delusions from his alternate universe. Like a tangerine King Lear, Donald Trump has been holed up in the White House, railing against reality, petulant and offended, as the people of our nation struggle to keep roofs over their head, their children fed, and their bodies healthy and alive.

No more! We are tired.

On Election Day, the working people of this country sent a message: Four years of the Trump fever dream is enough. This is not who we are. We’ll not idly stand by as the wealthy and powerful conspire to destroy our institutions; as the sick and elderly linger and die without health care; as our marginalized sisters and brothers are pushed further into the shadows, or as our children die in the streets, and as the boot heel of authoritarianism presses harder onto our necks. We will not allow our democracy and progress to be dismantled and thrown on the fires of avarice and hatred.

Working people, led by Black women and a rainbow coalition of people of color—including millions of Asian and Pacific Islanders, Latinx and Native Americans—took the country back on Nov. 3, 2020. Among the rescuers were thousands of 1199SEIU members who made calls, sent texts, organized in their communities, watched polls, and helped get out the vote. Every day for months, 1199SEIU members changed out of their PPE and scrubs and put on their organizing hats. The life of our country quite was literally at stake.

But make no mistake: There is still a lot of work to do. Primarily, it will take a lot of diligent effort to undo the mind boggling damage of the last four years.

And then we also must continue to hold Joe Biden and Kamala Harris accountable for their campaign promises and demand accountability from all our elected leaders.

Dr. King taught us that “the moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” We are now in a moment where we are seeing the bend in that arc very clearly. We are truly the people who have made–and will continue to make– America great. It is no surprise that we have a long struggle ahead, and we must hold our place in this struggle. But no one is more ready for the challenge than the members of 1199SEIU.

1199 Magazine | November & December 2020