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Tefere Gebre came to the United States in 1984 as a teenager. He and four friends had left their home in war-torn Ethiopia and walked nearly 500 miles across the desert to a refugee camp in Sudan.

When it comes to appreciating educators, please heed an old expression: Walk the walk, don’t just talk the talk.

Rep.-elect Conor Lamb made national waves with an improbable win last week in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District. He faced down $10 million in outside money funneled to his opponent by corporate and right-wing interests. He fought through a barrage of incessant, hyperpartisan attacks blanketing the airwaves. He was abandoned by his own party’s national infrastructure in a district that hadn’t elected a Democrat in nearly 15 years. And he still came out on top.

The #MeToo movement has challenged our nation to confront pervasive sexual harassment in the workplace. Women of every age, every background and every profession have faced harassment, and for too many perpetrators there has been no accountability. According to a study conducted by the nonprofit Stop Street Harassment, 81% of women (and 43% of men) report experiencing sexual harassment or assault.

The Donald Trump Labor Department is proposing a rule change that would mean that restaurant servers and bartenders could lose a large portion of their earnings. The rule would overturn one put in place by the Barack Obama administration initiated, which prevents workers in tipped industries from having their tips taken by their employers. Under the new rule, business owners could pay their wait staff and bartenders as little as $7.25 per hour and keep all tips above that amount without having to tell customers what happened.

The middle class has been on a steady slide for decades. Signs of this slide are all around us: anemic wage growth, historic income inequality, chronic unemployment and underemployment and, not coincidentally, the steady erosion of workers’ freedom to join unions and bargain for fair wages and benefits. At the same time, American households are facing rising costs that far outpace their stagnant wages.

Imagine this: It's Sunday morning and you walk into the church you grew up attending. You have not been to service in a few years. For most of that time, you worked the night shift as an emergency-room nurse and the occasional weekends you had off were filled with sick children, aging parents and digging out from snowstorms. But you are there now. The usher asks your name and when you answer, he frowns and says "I'm so sorry, since you haven't exercised your religious freedom in the last six years, I'll have to ask you to leave."

A law to free nonunion workers from paying union dues has been undone by Missouri voters, a victory for labor organizers who spent millions of dollars to organize a “no” campaign.

“It’s a clear message that they want to go a different way,” said AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka. “They want workers to have a bigger say.”

The Trump administration is considering bypassing Congress to grant a $100 billion tax cut mainly to the wealthy, a legally tenuous maneuver that would cut capital gains taxation and fulfill a long-held ambition of many investors and conservatives.

Congressional Republicans and President Trump continue to push their sole legislative accomplishment, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, as a game-changer for average working Americans — but the benefits of that bill appear to be going mostly to the people at the top.