The word hero used to get thrown around quite a bit. It seemed like everyday someone was being hailed as a hero. Well, these past few weeks have really illuminated the heroes walking among us. Even with all that is going on in our city, our state, our nation, and the world, I am filled with gratitude. There are so many people working tirelessly to keep us safe and informed. It is these heroes who are saving the day and doing so in the midst of a global pandemic. I don’t know if we will ever adequately be able to thank them, but we can try.
I cannot stop thinking about all of the doctors, nurses, and staff at hospitals who are putting their lives on the line each time they go to work. They are not only dealing with a growing pandemic in their cities, they are still tending to patients who are giving birth, suffering heart attacks, in need of dialysis and cancer treatments, and suffering from broken bones and more. My sister is a doctor in Philadelphia and has been working tirelessly to provide telehealth to some patients, deliver care for others, all while trying to keep herself and her family safe and healthy.
Our firefighters and police put their lives on the line for our safety each and every day, even without a global pandemic in their midst. Unlike other heroes in this moment, they signed up to serve and protect the public. Their calm in the face of uncertainty is so needed and appreciated. As they lose colleagues to coronavirus each day, they continue to go into homes and communities to ensure overall safety.
Our journalists are definitely rising to these incredibly difficult times. They are adapting to new ways of researching the news and communicating with sources and communities. They too have their own lives and families, yet they persist in providing us with daily updates to help assuage some of our fears.
Last, and certainly not least, our trash collectors, grocery store clerks, subway and bus drivers, and all of the supers and maintenance workers who are still providing essential services to our neighborhoods and throughout our cities. These are people who do not make millions of dollars, many do not have adequate health insurance, yet they are putting their bodies on the front lines to help us maintain some semblance of normalcy and organization.
We will never be able to adequately thank all of our heroes for holding our society together during our moment of need. They are doing the work, often without fanfare. They are serving the public and leaving their families each morning to do so. I thank everyone who is serving the public right now. I also thank those who are staying home and staying out of the way. Be safe. Be healthy.
Christina Greer, Ph.D., is an associate professor at Fordham University, political editor at The Grio, the author of “Black Ethnics: Race, Immigration, and the Pursuit of the American Dream,” and the co-host of the podcast FAQ-NYC.