It all started with a simple handshake. Georgetown University student Febin Bellamy (left) was getting ready for another late night of studying. Janitor Oneil Batchelor (right)-- a member of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East -- was starting his night shift. It was the usual routine, Batchelor would come in to clean the classroom and Bellamy would study. On this particular night, however, the two young men started talking. Batchelor's dream of starting his own catering business was something that Bellamy, a business student and a former service worker himself, could relate to. Before returning to their routine, the two exchanged a handshake. Bellamy shared Batchelor’s story on his Facebook page and within weeks, students across campus raised $2,500 to help jumpstart Batchelor’s catering business. Bellamy got to know more Georgetown service workers -- many of them members of Unite Here Local 23, SEIU 32BJ or 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East -- and, inspired by their stories and dreams, he created Unsung Heroes, a nonprofit organization that focuses on promoting awareness and appreciation for workers on college campuses and works to “make visible the Invisibles.” Recent profiles on the Unsung Heroes Facebook page include Cheung Gunho, who works in Georgetown's Leo O'Donovan Dining Hall, Georgetown bus driver Alvaro Barberena, and Dorothy Lewis, a facilities worker at Georgetown University Medical Center.
- Mayra Alaniz; photo courtesy PressReader