The first two weeks of the pandemic were very difficult for me. I felt overwhelmed by all that could possibly go wrong and paralyzed when I tried to think about how I could help others. I heard people wondering how long until we could, “go back to normal,” while I also heard stories about families suffering from a loss of income, food insecurity, and possible eviction. I saw people who were already on the fringes lose access to the small number of safety systems and resources we have. But the reality is the pandemic has not created any new problems, it has merely polarized the problems of our society. Many of us, myself included, feel a lifelong call to care for the most marginalized people in the community, and we have not been answering that call strongly enough. The flaws, rifts, and injustices of our own making when things were “normal” have become further highlighted. I’m not interested in returning to that “normal.”
I’m seeing others reflecting on this “normal” as a part of the exploration happening on our Virtual Mission Trips. People of all ages are engaging in social justice, hearing personal stories, doing small actions, as well as examining larger systemic issues.
While facilitating our Urban Poverty program, participants have brought up questions like:
Why aren’t diapers covered by WIC?
Why do our support services come with the message “we don’t trust you”?
Why don’t we provide sick days?
Why aren’t people paid a living wage?
How can we invest in people more? In children more?
These are great questions to ask. They’re questions that challenge us to imagine and create a new normal. I’m inspired by our participants taking the pandemic as an opportunity to reflect and take action.
Our Virtual Mission Trip participants aren’t alone in taking this opportunity. People across the country have made demands for change, to end police brutality against Black and Brown communities, and to disrupt the status quo. This is an opportunity for a holistic approach: reflection, understanding justice, imagining a new world, and engaging in the work.
If you’d like to imagine it with us, email us to get a tour of our programs. Let’s chat about what kind of justice work your community wants to engage in together. Let’s create our new normal.