The last weeks or months, depending on where you are in the world, have taken a toll on all of us. As the Covid-19 pandemic has upended life across the globe, we find ourselves in a collective crisis, yet one that has affected each of us in dramatically different ways. Right now, we’re thinking of:
The caregiver at a home for the elderly—serving those most at risk, while risking her own safety.
The student, suddenly dislocated and isolated, fighting anxiety and mental illness.
The family crammed in close quarters in an urban community.
The migrant worker far away from home, unable to return to family and suddenly without food or income.
The mother educating and caring for her children from home while working full-time.
The family who has suddenly lost a loved one to coronavirus.
And many, many more.
The global crisis is exacerbating injustice— from disparities in healthcare access to the exclusion of undocumented and migrant communities. We’ve become more aware of systems and where we sit in them. This crisis is exposing how our individual realities can be so different, and how at the same time we’re connected, our every action directly impacting our neighbors.
While it’s easy to react out of fear, we’re also seeing people act out of concern for others’ wellbeing— whether it’s wearing a mask, getting groceries for a neighbor, or setting up a support system for people in isolation. From the Indonesian student passing out books for local children to the French scientist combatting disinformation— people are finding ways to practice justice even in the most uncertain times.
Right now, we at Streetside are finding hope in everyday conversations—even if they’re happening on video calls, not street corners. One barista in a small Illinois town found that when she offered her standard greeting — “how are you?”—customers were giving authentic, not automatic, answers. In some ways, we are listening better.
As we each reflect on our new reality, wherever we are, let’s listen. Over the next month, we will be posting short reflections from the Streetside Conversations community around the world. We invite you to join us as we ask questions like: How have you seen or experienced injustice in the time of coronavirus? What are you learning about community? What does justice look like in a post-pandemic world? What gives you hope?
We hope you will join us on this journey.
The Streetside Conversations Team