On the morning of Tuesday March 29, 2022, I headed to the Unisphere in Flushing, Queens to join New Yorkers against COVID-19 mandates in support of Council member Vickie Paladino’s call to reinstate and compensate city workers who lost their jobs due to mandates.
Organized by Bravest for Choice, healthcare workers, firefighters, police, teachers, transportation, sanitation and New York Court employees — the vaccinated and unvaccinated — gathered in the freezing weather and shared stories of personal and professional plight due to the mandates.
These are everyday workers, begging Democratic Mayor Eric Adams to lift the vaccine mandates for them, the same way he did for the openly unvaccinated Brooklyn Nets player Kyrie Irving and other athletes and performers, allowing them to re-enter the workforce. These are working class people asking for the right to get back to work, so that they can provide for themselves and their families and live with dignity.
Are the frontline workers who were dubbed “heroes” as they risked their lives during the height of the pandemic not also considered “performers” of their crafts? And if not, why does the culture give more respect to entertainers than people who raise families, save lives, and protect the city?
After the press conference, I followed the activists of the Worldwide Freedom Rally for Freedom and New York de Jure Assembly to the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The group sang a song and danced to a drum beat, chanting “We the people will not comply,” and then dissipated back into their New York City lives.