On April 24, members of the Tacoma Ministerial Alliance held a “car processional” past three Tacoma hospitals to provide encouragement to caregivers as they work on the front lines of the fight against the novel coronavirus. That same day in Lakewood, the American Medical Response (AMR) ambulance and local fire and rescue joined together to caravan to St. Clare Hospital to park and cheered for all the health care workers.
Beginning at Allen A.M.E. Church and Shiloh Baptist Church, vehicles in the Tacoma processional traveled along Martin Luther King, Jr., Way past Tacoma General and Tacoma Memorial hospitals, before proceeding on 19thStreet to St. Joseph Medical Center. At St. Joseph, the processional was met by members of SEIU Healthcare 1199NW for a moment of physically distanced prayer. Processional participants chose yellow as their color of support for healthcare workers, and posted yellow ribbons outside the hospitals to remind healthcare workers that the faith community stands with them.
The Lakewood caravan gathered at the St. Clare Hospital parking lot and was made up of the American Medical Response (AMR) Ambulance, West Pierce Fire & Rescue, Central Pierce Fire & Rescue and the Lakewood Police Department.
“Our St. Clare Hospital team is deeply grateful for our local AMR teams and the greater Lakewood community for their incredible show of support during this challenging time,” said Lois Erickson, chief operating officer of St. Clare Hospital. “Your generous donations and gestures of kindness are a testament to our community’s strength and remind us that we will get through these unprecedented times together.”
Leaders of Tacoma Ministerial Alliance say they see the processional as just the first phase of an effort to support healthcare workers. In the future, TMA plans to coordinate efforts to ensure healthcare workers have access to the supplies and equipment they need to work safely during the coronavirus outbreak.
“We wanted to do something meaningful to show all healthcare workers, from doctors to housekeepers and everyone in between, that the faith community has their back,” said Pastor Gregory Christopher, Shiloh Baptist Church, Tacoma Ministerial Alliance. “We know the coronavirus continues to be overwhelming for the people on the front lines, and our purpose is to offer encouragement to them and to hopefully ease some of the strain they are under at this time.”
Pastor Anthony Steele, Allen A.M.E. Church, Tacoma Ministerial Alliance, said that his congregations are praying daily for the success and safety of our healthcare workers. “This processional is our way of bringing our prayers to their doorstep. TMA’s support for healthcare workers does not end here – we plan to do what we can to ensure they have the material support they need, like personal protective equipment, in addition to this spiritual support.”
“Tacoma Ministerial Alliance has always been a strong supporter of 1199NW members at St. Joe’s,” said Willie Willis, an environmental services technician at St. Joseph Medical Center and a member of the SEIU Healthcare 1199NW Executive Board. “They have stood with us during our fights for a fair union contract, and they stood with us in our fight for affordable medical care for our coworkers and community members with low incomes. We’re so grateful to have TMA’s support as we work on the front lines of COVID-19.”