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As we continue to battle the coronavirus pandemic, both from a health perspective and a financial one, it is important that our leaders recognize what essential workers need to keep our communities safe, healthy and functioning.

We are no longer fighting the unknown. Since the pandemic started a year ago, we have learned how to protect workers using face masks, sanitizing products and more. Sadly, many essential workers remain in danger due to the lack of uniform health and safety guidelines in state law. That can change by passing the New York Health and Essential Rights Act, or NY HERO Act.

I migrated to this country from Oaxaca, Mexico, in 2012 and started working at one of the New York’s biggest dairy farms. I worked 12 hours a day, six days a week, sometimes during the day and other times at night — work that my former colleagues continue to do. Farm work is essential and very laboring; the hours are long, and the pay is low.

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