This coming weekend is Labor Day weekend, and it marks the end of what many of us consider summer.
But Labor Day is about more than the end of summer. The purpose of Labor Day is to honor and recognize the contributions of workers. It was first celebrated on September 5, 1882, at a time when many people worked long hours, often seven days a week and frequently under terrible conditions. Even children worked in this environment. My grandmother, who was born in New York City in 1904, graduated from eighth grade only to go to work for long hours in what she called a “sweatshop.” Since then, the labor movement has resulted in many positive changes. But how different are things for many workers today? People may not be working for twelve hours a day and seven days a week at the same job, but many are working at least that much because they must hold two and three jobs just to take care of themselves and their families. There are always stories of corruption that people can point to, but over the years unions have done a lot to protect workers, increase wages and help them get better benefits. It is no surprise that, on average, the earnings of workers in Right-to-Work states are about 15% less than the earnings of workers in other states. Acknowledging Labor Day is more than celebrating the end of summer, it is recognizing that there are those for whom this is not necessarily a day for rejoicing, and it may not even be a day off.
While many of us are still basking in the beauty and warmth of these final summer days, there are those who have borne the brunt of Hurricane Ida’s force and are trying to survive. Here is an article from The Virginian-Pilot that provides a few examples of how you can help: https://www.pilotonline.com/weather/vp-nw-help-hurricane-ida-victims-hampton-roads-20210831-zpwzytv77ranfcmvhcmgahpapy-story.html
Also, the Unitarian Universalist Association’s Disaster Relief Fund is giving grants to UU congregations affected by this devastating storm. There is more about what you can do to help that effort here: https://giving.uua.org/disaster-relief
Don’t forget, the Check-In-and-Chat is starting up again on Sept. 9th at 12 p.m. But more importantly, we will have an in-person service on Sept. 12th in the Gathering Area at 11 a.m. Our virtual service will be at a new time, 9 a.m. Religious Education will still be virtual and will take place at the usual time, 9:45 a.m. You will need to register for the in-person service at 9 a.m., and information about that will be going out to you next week. Just like the June 20th service, masking and physical distancing will be required. Even though this is our Ingathering service, because of COVID restrictions, we will not be collecting water, so please send in a photograph of a container (bowl or glass) of water taken in your home. If you are not able to arrange that, any photo of water will do. Please send those to email@example.com.
I will close this week with Thomas Rhett’s “Be A Light.” With all the challenges we are facing, there is always the light of hope somewhere. May each of us have the opportunity to be that light for someone in need.
Rev. Viola Abbitt (She/Her/Hers)
Coastal Virginia Unitarian Universalists
809 South Military Highway
Virginia Beach, VA 23464