Monday, May 1, 2023

Solidarity Forever! Happy May Day

 Here we are in the merry month of May--how can it already be May?  The first day of May has ancient roots as a celebration of Spring and new growth and the return of warm weather.  More recently, the first day of May has become a celebration of workers.

So let's think about some ways we could make the day special:

--The traditional way would be flowers, traditionally flowers that we would leave on dark porches for people to discover when they woke up.  It's probably too late for that approach, but it's not too late to appreciate flowers.  You could buy some flowers or a flowering plant.  Or, for future enjoyment, you could do what we did:  buy some seed packets, plant them, water them, and see what happens.

--It is probably also too late to weave long ribbons around a Maypole.  But we could braid ribbons or strips of cloth and meditate on the types of joy we'd like to invite into our lives.

--Today is a good day to think about workers, workers of all sorts.  We're having more of a national conversation these days about work, about gender, about who takes care of children and elders while people work, about the locations of work.  I look forward to seeing how it all turns out--I'm holding onto hope for positive change, even as I'm afraid we can never make the improvements that need to be made.

--If we're one of the lucky types of workers, the ones who aren't under threat by bosses or by globalization or by robots, we can support those who aren't as lucky.  Send some money to organizations that work for worker's rights. I'm impressed with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, which works to protect the migrant workers in the fields of Florida, but you certainly have plenty to choose from.

--Can't afford to make a donation? Write letters on behalf of the unemployed, the underemployed, everyone who needs a better job or better working conditions. Write to your representatives to advocate for them. What are you advocating? A higher minimum wage? Safer worksites? Job security? Work-life balance?

--Today, Anglicans, Episcopalians, and Lutherans celebrate the feast day of Philip and James; others will celebrate May 3. These are not the most well-known disciples. Today you could reread the Gospels, a kind of literary Easter egg hunt, to try to find them.

--Can you create something that weaves these strands together? Here are some possibilities: a sculpture made out of ribbons that explores the world of migrant workers. A poem that celebrates flowers and contemplates the ways that we love some blooms (flowers) but not others (algae, cancer). A painting that uses weaving in some ways to think about the past century of efforts to enlarge the workplace and make it safer. A short story that updates the story of Philip--who would he be today?

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