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May 1: Essential Worker Appreciation Day

Today Seattle celebrates the 21st annual May Day Celebration of Immigrant and Worker’s Rights. This year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” orders, celebrations may look different, but the passion and support are still as strong as ever. The lead organizers from El Comite, are shifting the traditional peaceful march and celebrations of this historic day to an awareness campaign , “Essential Worker Appreciation Day”, to recognize essential workers and the impacts of the exclusion of mixed-status and undocumented immigrant families face from federal COVID-19 relief aid.

Who is an essential worker in your life?

Are you or someone you know an “essential worker” during this COVID-19 pandemic? Share your story! We want to hear from our essential workers and show our appreciation. Share a story, picture, or video using social media throughout the day on Friday May 1st, 2020. Use these hashtags: #EssentialWorkerAppreciation #GetLoudForEssentialWorkers #MayDay2020 #SeattleTogether.

Show your appreciation and GET LOUD!

Join us in saying thank you on May Day 2020 – “Essential Worker Appreciation Day”, to those we depend on the most during these difficult times! Let’s show them how much we love and appreciate them! Tonight at 8:00pm sharp, we’re asking Seattlelites to join in a moment of appreciation by making even more joyful noise! Open your windows, stand on balconies and in your front yards, backyards, and anywhere you may be, to make a joyful noise so frontline workers know how much we appreciate them. Invite your friends, family, and neighbors to join in showing our collective appreciation.

Connect essential workers to resources.

Essential workers and recently displaced workers due to COVID-19 in need of items and resources can visit the  City of Seattle COVID-19 Resource Page for City of Seattle, King County, Washington State, federal, and community programs and services that help residents significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.  You can also learn more about the services listed on this page over the phone by calling the City of Seattle Customer Service Bureau from Monday to Friday, 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM at (206) 684-2489 or (206) 684-CITY.

Here’s a look at how a few of our City of Seattle departments are reaching out to say thank you to our essential workers:

Office of Arts and Culture is featuring a poem from Seattle Civic Poet Jourdan Keith and highlight yard signs created by local artists in honor of the contributions of our workers on the frontlines. Please click here to find out more.
Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs is uplifting immigrants and their economic contributions. Visit for full details.
Office of Labor Standards is working together with its community and business outreach and education fund partners to recognize both essential workers and essential businesses that continue to keep their doors open and help them navigate Seattle’s labor standards. OLS will also be hosting a Facebook event page and invites you to share your appreciation for our front-line essential workers. More information on labor laws here.
Office of Economic Development is providing technical assistance to businesses applying for SBA loans and the Paycheck Protection Program to make sure they have the resources they need to maintain their payroll, hire back employees who have been laid off, and cover applicable overhead. For assistance with these programs please email or call 206-684-8090. For more information click here.    
Seattle Public Library created an International Workers Day book list with fiction and non-fiction literature for adults that includes essential workers and labor unions depicted in e-book (or e-audiobook). The list features a number of genres, authors of color, and books about doctors, nurses, convenience store and supermarket workers, restaurant workers and owners, booksellers, yard workers, and more. There’s also a children’s book list, “Essential Workers & Community Helpers: (mostly) eBooks for Kids,” and stay tuned for some themed story times! Learn more at
Seattle Fire will honor all those working on the frontlines to keep us safe and healthy this May Day  during their Friday Day Lights campaign through Seattle neighborhoods.
Office for Civil Rights will elevate messaging about protections against discrimination and harassment for essential workers. Read more about protections for workers here.
Department of Neighborhoods is reminding us that #YourCountMatters and the importance of making sure that we all complete the 2020 Census to make sure that all of our essential workers are counted and resources are properly allocated for times like this. Let us not forget the significance of the Census on this historic day. Now, more than ever, we must make sure we count everyone, especially our Essential Workers. You can still respond to the census onlineby phone, or by mail. Visit the U.S. 2020 Census website to make sure you get counted! They will also be sharing a video for essential workers on social media. Be sure to follow them at

Join us by sharing our Facebook event page and make sure to invite your family, friends, neighbors, and all the essential workers in your life!

We leave you with this poem written by Seattle’s Civic Poet Jourdan Keith in honor of Essential Workers Appreciation Day.

For you who are always on the frontlines.

Night Fall 

Nobody thanks the Stars until 
they see them.

No one sees them 
until it’s dark.  

by Jourdan Keith
2019-2021 Seattle Civic Poet