Louisiana has changed since coronavirus hit. There is less food on the shelves, people are losing their jobs and getting sick. We don’t know what New Orleans will look like when this is over. It is scary. Gov. John Bel Edwards told us that staying home is the only way to slow the virus. In New Orleans, most people are home and doing what they can to keep each other safe but I don’t have that option. I work at Dollar Tree on the west bank and am exposed to people every day who could be sick. By banning New Orleans and other cities from setting our own, local paid sick leave policies, the state is forcing workers like me to choose: Stay home to protect my co-workers and customers or go to work sick to pay my bills.

There is no way to win. I have two kids, a 3-month-old and a 3-year-old. My partner has been laid off so mine is the only income in the house. We need to keep a roof over our heads but I know that customers are not safe when workers like me have to take risks. Essential dollar store workers like me, sanitation workers, and fast-food workers need to stay healthy if the community is going to stay healthy. State laws don’t guarantee pay for workers who need to stay home but there is a law that stops our local leaders from doing what they need to protect our city.

At least we can fight back. I organize with Step Up Louisiana and Unleash New Orleans. Unleash New Orleans is a coalition of working families, local elected officials and community organizations dedicated to ending state overreach and restoring local freedom. Our bill being introduced in the state Legislature would give Mayor LaToya Cantrell and the City Council the power they need to respond to this pandemic now and keep our economy thriving in the future. I want to do my part to stop the spread of this virus and get big corporations like Dollar Tree to do the right thing. I demand that the state Legislature do its part.



New Orleans