We, are Emory University
A leading research institution, innovators in teaching and healthcare
Our students are among the brightest
Guided by wisest of faculty
But who are we?
New buildings and greenery break through concrete
Those that remain we tame as the day wears on
Our presence is present even after the day has gone.
We, are the carpenters, custodians,
landscape professionals, plumbers, painters,
electricians and engineers
and food service workers
The ideas of Emory you have constructed
Are from our construction
Could you imagine an Emory
That was not molded by our hands?
Beyond the work orders and the long shifts,
We too deserve acknowledgement
This community you speak of, are we a part of it?
We are awake before early mornings
And 8 AM lectures
Traveling from homes
That stretch beyond the confines of the Decatur that you know
With floors mopped
And vegetables chopped
Prepared and waiting
Behind my work is a family
With jokes and teasing that fills up a day’s shift
And smiles gleaming between us
Don’t you see us?
I am me.
I may be 22, 32, or even 52, but I am still me.
I may be working here until graduation, or trying to make ends meet, yet, I am me
To the common observer, we are grouped together as food service laborers, defined solely by our job description
But no one ever pays attention to our underlying intentions
We are who we are because of each of our circumstances
But you will only ever recognize that fact, by taking chances
So take a chance, step out of your comfort zone
Erase all of those assumptions and challenge yourself to venture into the unknown
I am here, waiting for you to finally meet me
When will they learn?
When will they understand that my body isn’t the token mule to toil without rest.
When will they learn that with just a little more resources, we’d all be able to do our best.
When will they learn that I’m more valuable than my hands and feet, remembering my mind, my soul, and my spirit contain more meat.
I’m an employee, but I’m a person.
I have cares just like everyone else.
I have burdens and grief,
yet I am forced to push on.
I press towards a better future
one where my father isn’t suffering
and my mother isn’t stressed.
One where I own my own business
and no longer have to answer to anyone else.
One when students finally realize
that we are here to be of service
and not a hindrance.
Or when management goes the distance
and begins to uplift us
and acknowledge our brilliance
Remember. My. Name.
Why can’t. You. Remember. My. Name?
You aren’t so different than me.
I stand behind this food
you behind your desk
Your white shirt doesn’t make you superior
They come upstairs trying to tell us what to do.
But do you even know what’s going on?
Excuse me but I have people to feed.
Why are you watching me?
I do my job good
Why do you look at me the way you do, Mr. Bossman?
I’ve made some friends here.
A couple of them are on my commute
We try to look out for each other
We’re coming from the same places,
All just trying to make things work.
Everyone back here is nice to each other.
We gotta pass the time somehow,
Only thing that makes the time go,
Is listening to the stories people got.
Remember our names.
A student asked me what my name was.
She wore her hair just like my daughter.
For four years
Each time she saw me
She said my name.
She was so sweet.
She’s graduating this year.
My children are all grown up,
But every year I get a whole new set of babies.
They know my name.
She reminds me of my daughter.
Like mothers and cousins and friends
We are the consolers, the caretakers, and everything in between
Ensuring that your food is warm and your hallways are clean
It is not only our work but our warmth
That take these buildings beyond cold stone
Our service we share here and at home
You have influence.
You are a huge part of people’s days.
You make contributions in more than one way.
Valuable, is the work you do.
Without, You, there is no community.
Regardless of the circumstance you always come through.
Loyal, sincere, and full of good cheer.
Untiring in your efforts throughout the year
Effective in the way you fulfill your role