Hands, Mind, Heart: An International Workers’ Day Tribute
by Seneca Moraleda-Puguan
“No human masterpiece has been created without great labor.”- Andre Gide
While Labor Day is celebrated every September in the United States and Canada, most countries around the world celebrate a worker’s day on the first of May.
According to Britannica, International Workers’ Day, also called May Day or Workers’ Day, commemorates the historic struggles and gains made by workers and the labor movement.
In 1889, an international federation of socialist groups and trade unions designated May 1 as a day in support of workers, in remembrance of the Haymarket Riot in Chicago that happened three years earlier.
Industrial workers across the US went on strike, demanding an 8-hour workday on May 1st of 1886. A bomb was detonated on May 4th while the police were trying to disperse the meeting of the labor activists, killing some strikers and police officers, and injuring many. Thousands of American workers fought for a right that we now have come to enjoy as standard: the eight-hour workday.
While the Haymarket Incident is a tragic reminder of the oppressive conditions that marked the late 19th and early 20th-century workplace, it is a symbol of workers’ struggles and battles that led to an establishment of an important day of remembrance. It is only rightful to recognize and honor our laborers throughout the world.
SKILLFUL HANDS. For your diligent and skillful hands, you are worth honoring. For your blood, sweat and tears, though many times unnoticed and unrewarded appropriately, thank you. You may not see the results of your hard work but know that they impact many generations in fact. You are not just a blessing to your family, but communities and nations benefit from your labor. Keep persevering and everything will pay off.
INQUISITIVE MIND. For your curious and great mind that always looks for ways to create things, address issues and solve problems, thank you. Your ideas turning into products and your visions becoming reality make this world a better place. What will our world be like without you?
SELFLESS HEART. You labor, not just only for yourself, but for your family and your community. It takes a selfless heart to rise early in the morning and rest very late at night (or even endure sleepless nights) just so you can provide and give a better life for the people you love and the nation you serve. Thank you for laying down your life. Thank you for giving your heart to all that you do. Remember this, generations are blessed because of you.
To all our workers–whether you’re at home or in school, office or street, factory, or field, indoor or outdoor, underground, or top of a mountain–wherever you are, whatever you do, THANK YOU. For your skillful hands, inquisitive mind, and selfless heart, you are deeply appreciated. We recognize your hard work, and we honor you for all that you do. May your hands always be blessed, your mind always be filled with new ideas, your heart always be joyful, and your soul refreshed.
Your toil is not in vain. Your labor is worth it. The seeds you sow will bear fruit. We celebrate you. We honor you. Maraming Salamat, manggagawa! Mabuhay ka!