I grew up in Bulgaria, a country that continued to work on building Communism for the first 15 years of my life. In those years, May 1, International Workers’ Day, was something we kids looked forward to. Because it was a national holiday, schools closed. The adults, too, got the day off and took part in parades to honor workers. For me, that also meant I got an ice cream once my city’s parade was over. Today, I spoke with my mother on the phone to make sure I was remembering things correctly. My mother still lives in Bulgaria and helps me separate nostalgia from solid facts. She confirmed that in Bulgaria the word “workers” (работници) was used to describe people who performed manual labor. She could not say what percentage of our May Day celebrations was the result of Communist propaganda. She did tell me people who worked with their hands (like factory workers, painters, and bus drivers) were respected back then, that their children were granted special privileges when applying to university. For the first 15 years of my life, I believed workers (работници) helped society function, that we owed them gratitude. And that we should celebrate them. Today, International Workers’ Day, workers at major US companies went on strike, holding employers accountable for the safety of their employees, demanding that people count as well, not only profits. Maybe it’s my Bulgarian upbringing that makes me believe people should count above profits. Maybe this global pandemic will convince all of us why everyone’s health and safety should come first. Happy International Workers’ Day! #TogetherKY #TeamKentucky


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