A food distribution for more than 3,000 families affected by the coronavirus pandemic was held Monday in Wilmington to mark Labor Day in lieu of the canceled Los Angeles/Long Beach Harbor Labor Coalition Parade.
Los Angeles County Supervisors Janice Hahn and Hilda Solis, Reps. Maxine Waters, D-Los Angeles, and Nanette Barragan, D-San Pedro, Sens. Maria Elena Durazo, D-Los Angeles, and Steve Bradford, D-Gardena, Assemblyman Mike A. Gipson, D-Carson, and several labor leaders are among those set to place boxes of food in trunks of vehicles at Banning Park, organizers said.
The food distribution was organized by the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, in collaboration with the Los Angeles/Long Beach Harbor Labor Coalition, which consists of more than 20 labor organizations, and Labor Community Services, a nonprofit organization which describes its mission as providing "a safety net for union members, whether it be through the food program, disaster relief fund or financial literacy."
More than 75,000 families in Los Angeles County have received food assistance since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic through the partnership involving Labor Community Services, the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor and numerous labor unions throughout the region, according to the federation.
Like Independence Day, elected and health officials discouraged gatherings for Labor Day to avoid spreading the coronavirus.
"Make sure you don't barbecue with friends outside your household, that if you're invited to something take a rain check and say, `I'll see you next year because I care about you,''' Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a video distributed on his Twitter account Saturday.
Labor Day, the yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity and well-being of the nation, was first celebrated in the U.S. on Sept. 5, 1882 in New York City.
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In 1887, Oregon became the first state to formally recognize Labor Day. By 1894, 31 of the then-44 states had made Labor Day a holiday when Congress passed a bill designating the first Monday in September a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and territories.
"There's never been a more important time to pay tribute to our workers -- the nurses, the doctors, the medical workers, the techs who are saving lives," Garcetti said in a video released on his Twitter account Monday, going on to praise other workers involved in the effort against the coronavirus.
"In the face of an unprecedented pandemic and an unmatched economic devastation, we cannot do enough for the extraordinary everyday American workers who make this nation work."
Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger told City News Service "Every year, Labor Day reminds us to pause to thank and celebrate the talented, determined workers across Los Angeles County."
"Our workforce is the backbone of our local economy because of passionate people in every profession," Barger said. "Whether you work in a school, restaurant, construction site, community center, office, or as a first responder, your work is valuable and you are appreciated."
Barger also encouraged Los Angeles County residents "to support their favorite local businesses and restaurants."
"Their service and your support make our communities stronger," she said.
In his Labor Day proclamation, President Donald Trump wrote, "Since the founding of our nation, American workers have deployed their talents to build beautiful cities, develop new technologies and shape the global economy. Now, our country depends on these hardworking patriots as we continue to aggressively fight the coronavirus pandemic.
"In particular, we celebrate every American who has worked tirelessly to ensure we maintain our way of life in this unprecedented time. These vital workers include medical professionals, grocery store and pharmacy clerks, farmers, meatpackers, truckers, factory workers and the many employees who are important to the supply chain that makes essential goods and medications accessible to all Americans."