A Reflection for Workers’ Memorial Day by Sarah Smoot, ICWJ organizer
April 28 is recognized as Workers’ Memorial Day. Today the South Central Federation of Labor held a service of remembrance and activism. “We remember the dead, and we fight for the living.”
In the Christian Tradition we understand the Communion of Saints to be the people who have gone before us in the faith, who are no longer with us in this life. The Letter to the Hebrews describes this Communion as a “Great cloud of witnesses,” which surrounds us to encourage us to persevere (Hb.12:1). By God’s grace these forebears continue to be a part of the church and continue to influence our own journeys. They have inspired us. They have made the way for us, and they continue to light our way forward.
Today, we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, or a “Union of Saints”: Those who have died on the job, often in accidents that were preventable, had the workplace met safety standards, or had our standards been well thought-out with better care for all who labor.
Please join me in praying that this Union of Saints, who lost their lives on the job, will leave a lasting legacy among their coworkers, in their workplaces, and in their communities. May the cries of their loved ones reach the ears of those who implement safety standards, and may they inspire all workers to continue the march forward to safe and just workplaces. Let us join together in that way forward: union and non-union workers, people of faith, and people who simply believe that not one more person should die on account of their work.
If you are with me in that sentiment, please join me in saying “solidarity” for our fallen brothers and sisters: Solidarity
May the memories of their lives and their loss carry us forward in unity.