Labor Day is a day set aside as a federal holiday in the United States to honor and recognize the American labor movement and the works and contributions of laborers to its achievements. It is celebrated the first Monday in September, which is considered to be the culmination of what has come to be called the Labor Day Weekend.
Currently, partially because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the unemployment rolls have increased dramatically. According to Forbes, the latest Bureau of Employment statistics show that the U.S. economy lost over 20 million jobs in April with the unemployment rate spiking to 14.7 percent, the worst since the Great Depression.
And according to reports, that number may actually be underestimating the true situation because of how the numbers are calculated. If errors in the way the rate is calculated are corrected, the unemployment rate rises to nearly 20 percent, and possibly even higher.
Let’s face it – the majority of problems faced by Americans today, including unemployment rates, can be directly traced to the COVID-19 pandemic; and the severity of the pandemic in America can be traced to the inactivity and lack of leadership demonstrated by President Donald Trump. If you look at what’s happening around the world, there is no doubt truth in this assertion, since we lead the world in casualties. Labor Day, therefore, will be meaningless to many Americans.
As expected, the unemployment rate for Blacks has been extremely dire. There is a popular meme that goes “when white people get a cold, Black people get pneumonia.” When viewing Black progress in the U.S., this has often proven to be true!
In addition to racism, bigotry, and discrimination, which have impacted every area of life, including the economic arenas that would allow for the financing of educational programs that could help enhance skills and help level the playing field, these have served as impediments to leveling job acquisition.
In other words, America, the Great, has not shown the love toward Black people that is actually warranted, considering the sacrifices that Black people have made in order to participate in this great democratic experiment.
Back to the holiday: it is often celebrated outdoors with family, friends, and barbecue along with other food delectables. Because of the pandemic, however, some of these celebrations may be scaled back in comparison to previous ones. That will not stop a lot of people, though, who will make whatever accommodations necessary that will allow them to gather in groups.
The isolation generated by constraints connected with the pandemic will almost certainly guarantee that this will happen, since people are anxious to get out of pandemic bondage. So, since this will probably be the case, it might behoove members of the Black community to consider alternate ways to address the unemployment situation while they are in the company of family, acquaintances and friends.
It has long been suggested that African Americans develop their own economy to offset the challenges created by an imperfect participation in the one offered by America. This is especially true when considering who is at the helm of our country today. Actually, even if Trump is voted out of office in November, it will still be wise to craft alternative economic networks, because if the leadership changes, there will still be the residue left by corporations and other white business owners who will be inclined to look out for their own before reaching out to others.
For this reason, we can’t afford to sit back and wait for someone else to save us. There is light at the end of the tunnel. It is often said that with struggle comes opportunity. This is true today.
There is evidence all around that the sleeping giant of the Black body politic is awakening from slumber. More and more Black people are starting businesses and targeting other Blacks for networking. Changing the economic dynamic among Black people can be a labor of love if the opportunity to change the way we deal with each other is considered.
It is time that we mature, begin to trust each other more, and most importantly, do business with each other. This will go a long way to make our future employment prospects successful and make our Labor Day holidays more accurately festive. A Luta Continua.