April 30, 2022
Dear PJ's Community,
This week, I marched with fellow Yale graduate students and supporters up Hillhouse Avenue as we expressed our support for the formation of a graduate student union. We were joined by our partners UNITE HERE Local 217, Local 34, Local 35, Yale Unions Retirees Association, Students Union Now, and New Haven Rising, as well as workers from the Graduate Hotel in downtown New Haven who are also in the process of forming a union.
As a graduate student, I feel like I straddle a strange line between being a student and being a worker. While my grad student colleagues and I are getting an education, we are also doing invaluable work for the university, including performing cutting edge research, writing and applying for grants, and teaching classes. Graduate workers across the country are mobilizing to form unions, saying that the work we do matters and is essential to our universities and should be treated as such.
I share this with you all this week, because while in the United States we celebrate Labor Day in September, International Labor Day is this Sunday, May 1st. Across the globe, workers are getting days of rest, organizing marches, and standing up for the rights of all who work.
As I was walking up tree-lined Hillhouse Avenue with my fellow graduate students, I wondered what Jesus would think of all of this, and how it fits with my identity and beliefs as a Christian. While pondering this, one of the lines from my baptismal covenant popped into my mind: “Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?”
Remembering this, I felt proud to be a part of a larger labor movement across the United States, where workers are standing up against wealthy and powerful corporations and institutions to demand a living wage, basic rights, and dignity.
This week, I invite you to think of ways in your lives to live into your baptismal covenants – seeking and serving Christ in all persons, loving your neighbors, striving for justice and peace, and respecting the dignity of every human being.
Peace and blessings,
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PJs Wardens and Vestry