This is an effort of the City Union of Baltimore in conjunction with AFT-Maryland to highlight public employees who are essential workers on the front lines, providing needed services and resources to residents. Healthcare workers are vital and will be the north star to guide us through this global pandemic, however workers from many sectors across the state are also going above and beyond their assigned duties to help keep our state, counties, and cities functioning.
Earldine Williams has been a Director with the Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks for 16 years, and is a member of the City Union of Baltimore, Local 800. During that time, she has developed a unique bond engaging with community members, young, middle-aged, and older citizens alike. COVID-19 has changed much of that. Prior to social distancing norms, she would see about 800 people at her center weekly. There, she and the staff offered programs and resources centering on health and wellness among other quality of life initiatives. Now, she only engages about 200 people weekly and the programs have been suspended.
While Ms. Williams is disappointed that her programs are suspended and she’s not able to have the face-to-face connections that immersed her into the community, she does want people to know recreation centers in Baltimore city are helping in a different capacity. She has also seen how the global pandemic has solidified the connections between community, businesses, and educational institutions. These connections help all of us work together to return to normal, and improve on things as we return.
One of the biggest rewards in her work is seeing others and ensuring that every person she serves is doing well and functioning as a normal human being. Despite the shutdown of the city and most of the state, she wants others to know that non-health care essential employees in Baltimore city, like herself, “are working hard daily to give hope, respect, and dignity to individuals who are in need.” Earldine Williams is one of our Unsung Heroes on the Frontline.