This year, our Labor Day celebration should reflect our appreciation for essential workers.
LEWISVILLE, TEXAS — This year, our Labor Day celebration should reflect our appreciation for essential workers. Prior to COVID-19, we categorized essential workers as first responders who work around the clock saving our lives. But COVID-19 has caused us to change our definition to include the essential workers who make our daily lives possible – the mail deliverers, the waitstaff (which my mom was), the convenience store clerks, the grocery store cashiers, the pharmacists, the utility workers, the mechanics and many others.
This year, we broadened our definition of essential worker to encompass those who must risk their lives daily in order that our communities and families can continue to function. District 3, Lewisville in particular, is filled with thousands of essential workers. Workers who did not have the privilege of sheltering in place but were required to continue to leave the safety of their homes. We know this is true because the number of COVID-19 cases in Lewisville is among the worst in Denton County.
The number of its COVID-19 cases is second only to the city of Denton, a city that has two major universities.
We also know that Lewisville has a high level of economically disadvantaged families. We know this because of the number of the percentage of children who qualify for free lunch in the schools that Lewisville Independent School District feeds. We also know that despite District 3 being a large economically disadvantaged city with essential workers, its county commissioner voted against mandating the least safety requirement possible – a mask. I can’t hide my grave disappointment in that decision, especially after the County Health Director Dr. Matt Richardson requested such an ordinance. The fact that the commissioners sit behind plexiglass to protect themselves and their workspaces but refused to issue a vote to protect our workspaces is wrong.
Let me be clear.
None of us is responsible for COVID-19, but leadership matters. The decision not to take measures to slow the spread, flatten the curve and protect the community’s work environments will have lasting effects. As schools prepare for in-person learning, we’re all scared of what that means. To residents of District 3, it compounds an already-difficult time. Let’s remember in November that leadership matters. Let’s remind our leaders that as our tax dollars pay to make their work environment safe, we will elect leaders who will vote to make our work environments safe.
An SMU graduate, family lawyer and community volunteer, Delia Parker-Mims is a Democratic candidate for Denton County Commissioner 3 who wants to make Denton County healthier and safer for its citizens.
Delia Parker-Mims is an SMU attorney trained in economics. She has spent the last 25 years representing battered women, advocating for mentally-ill juveniles, and assisting seniors. Delia’s broad experience, combined with her passion for empowering the community, will make her an excellent County Commissioner.