For Our Tables and Our Plates

A poem by Camille Daniels

Who picks your potatoes, your tomatoes? Do you know? 

If the answer is no, you are not the only one, neither do I.

But, to those who do this work, we thank you.

To those whose names we do not know, voices we do not hear and faces we cannot see, we thank you.

We thank you for bending over backward, to picking the trees, to retrieve the fruits and veggies that sit in our grocery stores, marked up in our produce sections, and frozen aisles,

We the shopper, the cooks, the eaters, we thank you.

We acknowledge that you too are human,

That you have a story, a family, friends, loved ones,

That you have hopes, faith and goals, dreams of your own,

And that you do in fact have something to say, and that you are rich with your own cultures,

Yet it is because of you, because of what you do that helps us to celebrate this holiday, all holidays, and every day,

So, let us first stop to take this moment to celebrate you,

You and your cultures, your rich beliefs,

Allow us to say thank you.

Thank you not just for what you do, for that is more than enough,

But rather for who are as people,

Your very presence is great,

You are essential to us, and matter to those that truly know you,

For we need you and you unapologetically know this, 

Please forgive us for our ignorance, for taking you granted, 

We know this is far from easy work,

We recognize that this work is not a dream job, but it is a job that you are willing to take on,

Remember that your being is everything, and that you are greater than this job, no matter what anyone says,

So, thank you.

Thank you for your service,

And all that you do, and all that you are, 

God bless you,

And we acknowledge,

A “thank you” is not enough,

You need protection, better pay, health insurance,

Lunch and rest breaks and days off,

The right to unionize and most importantly,

First and foremost, our respect, 

Of being seen as a fellow human, 

But, hopefully by saying this, that this can be a start,

So, thank you.

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