Pandemic or not, immigrants’ work has always been essential.
Mr. Kakande is a journalist and author from Uganda currently working as a home health aide. His most recent book is “Why We Are Coming.”
BOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Recently, as I drove home from a long day of work as a home health aide, a police cruiser appeared behind me with lights flashing. It was 10 p.m. and the roads were nearly empty. As I pulled to the side of the road, my heart was pounding.
As a black man from Uganda, I was nervous. Charlie Baker, the governor of Massachusetts, had just issued a 9 p.m. curfew across the state. In the three excruciatingly long minutes it took for the officer to approach my car, I tried to sort out why I was being stopped and what would happen next.
When the officer appeared at my window, he asked just one question: “Essential worker?” I quickly replied that I was. He waved me off without asking for my driver’s license — my skin color told him everything he needed to know.